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
4Sheet 6 — The Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) SheetRangimatanukuRangimātānukuTe WhakatōheaNgāti Rua Ōpōtiki 27-28 May 1840

Rangimātānuku, also known as Mākao, signed the Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi at Ōpōtiki on 27 or 28 May 1840. He was a rangatira (chief) from the Ngāti Rua hapū (subtribe) of Te Whakatōhea at Ōmarumutu. His son Naua married Mākere Waiwaha, a relative of Mōkena Kōhere of Ngāti Porou, to strengthen an alliance.

When Ngāti Maru attacked Te Whakatōhea in 1830, Rangimātānuku escaped his pā (fortified villiage) at Awa-awa-kino. He was taken in by Haukamau at Whai-a-pawa (Hicks Bay) and was able to build a new pā there. Rangimātānuku returned to Ōpōtiki in 1840, along with the majority of Te Whakatōhea.

Rangimātānuku is recorded as having saved the crew of the John Dauscombe, from Launceston, in 1832.

In January 1840 Rangimātānuku was among those who sold the Pākihi block at Ōpōtiki to Anglican Church Missionary Society missionaries George Brown, James Stack and John Wilson. On the next day he was involved in the sale of the Ngaio block, also at Ōpōtiki.

Rangimātānuku kept a reserve of 50 acres (20 ha) at Tirohanga. This was confirmed on 1 January 1870 by a Crown grant, on condition he remained loyal to the Crown.

Rangimātānuku owned two of the 45 trading boats on the northern coasts. He had died by 1865, when the death of Te Āporotanga marked the passing of the last of the old Te Whakatōhea rangatira.

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Nepia James Tipene

Posted: 07 Sep 2021

Rangimātānuku did not die in 1865 as my mother Lily Reremoana Tipene nee Honatana remembers her mother, Mōtoi caring for him in his old age. She tells he story of a policeman searching for the family of a man who had passed away in Wellington. Nanny Mōtoi pointed to Rangimātānuku and said, 'that is his father lying there'. The policeman said that that was not possible as the deceased person from Wellington was in his 90s.

Nepia Tipene

Posted: 07 Jan 2020

"George and Catherine" 1848-? Affectionately known as, "Hokopoaka" as this was bought from the funds made from his piggery.
"Mana of the Queen" 1851-?
"Charlotte" 1852-1858.
His cargo was predominantly wheat, millet and maize which was abundantly grown in the Whakatohea area.

His successful trade came to a sudden halt with the land confiscation. All productive lands once owned by nga hapu o Whakatohea were no longer able to produce food because of hapu displacement.


Posted: 22 Sep 2019

My Grandfather's name's George Makao he had a half sister named Motoi


Posted: 13 Aug 2019

my nan matekitewai was your nans older sister, i was raised by motoi, matekitewai and reremoana

Jade stevens

Posted: 06 Feb 2017

Kia ora my great great grandfather was also known as Mākao not Makau. His name is rightly pronounced Rangimātānuku... the macrons are important. One of his wives Heeni, produced a daughter Motoi. Motoi married Honotana and had my nan, Reremoana. My nan knew Mākao personally.