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.

If you have more information about this treaty signatory please add a community contribution below or contact us at [email protected].

How to cite this page

'Rangimātānuku', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 7-Feb-2017

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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.