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
17Sheet 7 — The Herald (Bunbury) SheetNohoruaNohoruaNgāti ToaNgāti Kimihia?Cloudy Bay 17 June 1840

Nohorua signed the Herald (Bunbury) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi on 17 June 1840 at Cloudy Bay in Marlborough. He was a leading rangatira (chief) and tohunga (priest) of Ngāti Toa, possibly of the Ngāti Kimihia hapū (subtribe). Major Bunbury had asked Nohorua to sign on 16 June but he was unwilling to for fear that his lands would be taken from him. Māui Pū, who lived nearby, travelled with Bunbury on 17 June to Nohorua and explained the protection of land in Article Two of the treaty. [1]

Nohorua was born around 1760 in Kāwhia, and was part of the southern migration of Ngāti Toa in 1822. His parents were Waitaoro and Werawera. He was the elder brother of Te Aratangata and Te Rauparaha. [2] His daughter, Te Uatorikiriki, married the whaler Joseph Thoms. [3] Nohorua insisted that Thoms also sign the Treaty so that he would share the blame if his grandchildren lost their land. [4] In 1816 he married Wharemawhai, the sister of Huriwhenua, the main rangatira of Ngāti Rāhiri of Te Āti Awa. [5] He had at least three sons. One was Horomona, who married Riria Te Kahurangi and had Hohepa Horomona. Another may have been called Te Puaha. He also married Te Wainokenoke and they had a son named Tuarau. [6]

As a tohunga he did not take part in fighting, though his advice was asked on important occasions. [7] In 1819–20, Nohorua joined a taua (war party) from Kāwhia to Taranaki. Although they did not take part in any battles they did kill those who got in their way. [8] The theft of Nohorua’s waka (canoe) and his resulting killing of a Rangitāne woman sparked conflict between Te Rauparaha and Rangitāne. [9]

In 1839, Nohorua signed the document selling the Cook Strait Block, including the northern and southern shores, to William Wakefield of the New Zealand Company. In the same year he signed the Second Deed of Purchase for the Nelson District for the New Zealand Company.


[1]‘The Coming of the Crown’The old whaling days: A history of southern New Zealand from 1830 to 1840, Robert McNab, Whitcombe & Tombs, Wellington, 1913, p. 378

[2] T.L. Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi, S. & W. Mackay, Wellington, 1914, p. 186

[3] Patricia Burns, Te Rauparaha, Reed, Wellington, 1980, p. 182

[4] ‘The Coming of the Crown’The old whaling days: A history of southern New Zealand from 1830 to 1840, Robert McNab, Whitcombe & Tombs, Wellington, 1913, p. 378

[5] Patricia Burns, Te Rauparaha, Reed, Wellington, 1980, p. 51; ‘Siege of Te Taniwha. — Tu-Whare And Te Rau-Paraha’s first expedition, — 1818’, History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840, S. Percy Smith, Polynesian Society, New Plymouth, 1910, p. 284

[6] Rāwiri Taonui, ‘Tribal organisation - Social rank’, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 15 November 2012

[7] George French Angas, Savage life and scenes, vol. I, p. 247

[8] ‘Introduction’, History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840, S. Percy Smith, Polynesian Society, New Plymouth, 1910, pp. 296-7

[9] ‘Monday, 30th March’, Wellington Independent, 2 April 1868, p. 4


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

'Nohorua', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty/signatory/7-17, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Jul-2016

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