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.


SignatureSheetSigned asProbable nameTribeHapūSigning Occasion
15Sheet 6 — The Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) SheetTautariTautariNgāti AwaNgāti Pūkeko, Ngāti TonuWhakatāne 16 June 1840

Tautari signed the Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi at Whakatāne on 16 June 1840. A Ngāti Pūkeko rangatira (chief) of the Ngāti Awa iwi (tribe) he was also from Ngāti Tonu, but lived unwillingly with Ngāti Whakaue of Te Arawa. He was connected to Ngāti Pikao through marriage. His grandson was Te Whetu.

He lived at a strongly fortified pā (village) on Lake Roto-ehu in Whakatāne. When Ngāi Te Rangi attacked the pā in 1828, Tautari led a successful defence, killing Rangihau. Seeking utu (payback) for this attack, Tautari attacked Te Whānau-o-Ngāti-Whao on Tuhua (Mayor Island). Te Whānau-o-Ngāti-Whao dropped rocks on the Whakatāne taua (war party) as they climbed towards the pā, and defeated them. Tautari received 12 hatchet wounds in battle during the 1820s.

According to a letter written by Donald McLean, the Native Secretary, Tautari died in 1851, leaving two sons, Apanui and Te Wheturereata.

James Cowan recorded that Heremaia Tautari was killed in March 1869 while defending a mill and redoubt (fort) near Rauporoa against a war party led Wirihana Koikoi, a lieutenant of Te Kooti. The outnumbered Ngāti Pūkeko defenders held on for two days before the redoubt fell. This may not have been the Tautari who signed the treaty.

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