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
23Sheet 6 — The Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) SheetMatatehokiaMatatēhokiaNgāti Awa?Whakatāne 16 June 1840

Matatēhokia signed the Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi at Whakatāne on 16 June 1840. This may have been Hohaia Matatēhokia, a rangatira (chief) of the Ngāti Maumoana, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Rangataua and Te Patutahora hapū (subtribes) of Ngāti Awa.

Hohaia was a magistrate of the Compensation Court in Whakatāne. In 1867, when the court was hearing claims to land in the Bay of Plenty, Hohaia said that those who had travelled to attend it should be fed. After Ngāti Pūkeko provided food, John Wilson, the commissioner, refused to pay half its cost.

Hohaia initiated the construction of Mataatua, a carved house at Whakatāne he conceived of as a memorial to peace between Ngāti Awa and Urewera after they had fought in the New Zealand Wars. Opened in March 1875, Mataatua embodied ancestors of both iwi (tribes). It was exhibited at the 1879 International Exhibition in Sydney before being stored in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum for decades. [1] After being re-erected in Otago Museum, Mataatua was returned to Ngāti Awa in 1996 and reopened in Whakatāne in 2011.

[1] Carved Maori houseNew Zealand Herald, 30 December 1922, p. 8 

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