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
2Sheet 7 — The Herald (Bunbury) SheetKitahiKītahi Te TaniwhaNgāti Whanaunga, Ngāti PāoaTe MateawaCoromandel 4 May 1840

Kītahi te Taniwha signed the Herald (Bunbury) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi on 4 May 1840 at Coromandel Harbour. He was from Te Mateawa of the Ngāti Whanaunga iwi (tribe), and was also connected to Ngāti Pāoa. Kītahi was the son of Te Hōreta, who also signed on this occasion. The name ‘Te Taniwha’ (water spirit or monster), which Kītahi inherited, was gained by Te Hōreta after he leapt off a cliff into the sea, climbed aboard an enemy waka and forced its occupants to abandon it. [1]

Kītahi was involved in many land sales in the Coromandel region. Most of the land between the Ngāti Hura and Mahakirau blocks was sold, with the exception of house sites and farming and burial grounds. [2] The first sale took place in 1837 when land called Waitataramo was sold to Peter Abercrombie of Sydney for £142. [3] In the following year, Aotea on Great Barrier Island was sold to William Abercrombie, Jeremiah Nagle and William Webster for £1149 and many trade items. [4]

The Crown bought land in the area in the 1860s. Kītahi signed the sale document for the 83 acres of the Hinau Block, in Waiau, Coromandel District in 1865. [5] In 1866, he signed for the sale of the Te Puna and Katikati Block No. 4 at Tauranga. [6] In 1868, he signed the Gold Mining Agreement for the Mamaku Block No. 2 in Hauraki. Ngāti Whanaunga received £1 a year for each miner. In 1873, Kītahi was paid £8 for his part in selling 28 acres of foreshore in the Kauaeranga Block, and £13 for six acres of foreshore in the Rangiriri Block. [7]

Kītahi supported the government during the wars of the 1860s. According to the retired missionary James Preece, he started a rumour that Māori in the Coromandel would join the Kīngitanga in the hope of frightening Pākehā into paying for his protection. [8] All but four of those present at a meeting at Kauaeranga (Thames) in 1865 chose peace over war. They would fight only if attacked in their home area. [9]

[1] The Wai-te-mata and Thames in 1820, Maori wars of the nineteenth century, S. Percy Smith, Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd, Christchurch, 1910, p. 150

[2] He Kupu Whakaatu Atu (translation), The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: vol. 74, pp. 22-3

[3] Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, From the Year 1815 to 1840, with Pre-Emptive and Other Claims

[4] Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, From the Year 1815 to 1840, with Pre-Emptive and Other Claims

[5] Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand: Volume One

[6] Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand: Volume One

[7] Enclosure. — Return Showing the Purchased and Unpurchased Interests of Natives to the Foreshore in Hauraki District, An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

[8] Object #1002412 from MS-Papers-0032-0516, 2 pages written 11 May 1860 by James Wathan Preece in Coromandel to Donald McLean in Auckland Region, From: Inward letters - James Preece, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0516 (44 digitised items). 43 letters written from Thames, Urewera and Coromandel (Stapleton), 1845-1870. Includes letter from Mary Ann Preece, 1861 re her son Wathen; letter from James Preece to his son George, 1870

[9] ‘Latest news from the north’Wellington Independent, 11 March 1865, p. 7

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Posted: 02 Jun 2017

according to hamiora mangakahia in the auckland-no-8 maori land court minutes, pg 206 motuere block, kitahi te taniwha is a great grandchild of hongi hika.