Nga Tohu

In 1840 more than 500 chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. Ngā Tohu, when complete, will contain a biographical sketch of each signatory.


Signing

SignatureSheetSigned asProbable nameTribeHapūSigning Occasion
7Sheet 3 — The Waikato-Manukau SheetMuriwenuaMuriwhenuaNgāti Hauā Waikato Heads Late March or early April 1840

Muriwhenua signed the Waikato-Manukau sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi in late March or early April 1840 at Waikato Heads. He was married to Ngākahuwhero of Te Rarawa and was the father of Treaty signatory Ngāniho Te Tai, and the great-grandfather of Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia.

Following the invasion of Waikato by Ngāpuhi leader Hongi Hika in 1822, Waikato successfully invaded Taranaki, with Muriwhenua leading a party which travelled along the coast. A whakataukī (saying) at the time referred to the ‘multitudes of Kāwhia and the thousands of Waikato.’ [1]

In 1846 the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rangihaeata and his allies wrote to Waikato rangatira, including Muriwhenua, asking them to take revenge for the capture of Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha. The Waikato rangatira replied that they would ‘not support Te Rauparaha’s cause’. [2]

In the same year Muriwhenua is reported to have been one of the rangatira who bought a water mill for the 100-acre (40-hectare) wheat fields in Aotea and set it up under the direction of millwright Stewart McMullan. In 1846 Muriwhenua was also painted by George French Angas with Kahawai of Ngāti Hinetū, wearing a striped kahu kurī (dogskin cloak).


[1] Quoted in Evening Post, 7 May 1866, p. 2

[2] Letter between chiefs (with translation), 28 December 1846, MS-Papers-0032-0670B-11, Alexander Turnbull Library


If you have more information about this treaty signatory please add a community contribution below or contact us at webqueries@mch.govt.nz.

How to cite this page

'Muriwhenua', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty/signatory/3-7, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 3-Nov-2017

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Taruke Thomson

Posted: 24 Mar 2018

Muriwhenua Kaitangata of Ngati Haua is a brother to Whariki who married Te Keha (also a Treaty signatory.) A man of high rank, he was closely related to Te Awaitaia and Kewene te Haho. A fighting chief, military strategist, he was highly trained in tribal ritual. He accurately predicted the slaughter of Waikato at Matakitaki. George French Angus drew his image at Raoraokauere a mission station on the Aotea harbour 1844, he wears a dogskin cloak and was thought to be around 90 years of age at the time. He is buried at Purakau near the at the confluence of the Waipa and Kaniwhaniwha rivers. He had no descendants.