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
8Sheet 7 — The Herald (Bunbury) SheetJohn LoveHone TīkaoNgāi Tahu Ngāi Te Kahukura, Ngāi TūāhuririAkaroa 30 May 1840

Hone Tikao signed the Herald (Bunbury) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi (as John Love) on 30 May 1840 at Akaroa. Major Bunbury described him as ‘a very intelligent well-dressed native’ who spoke better English than any other rangatira (chief) he had met. [1] Tikao was from the Ngāi Te Kahukura and Ngāi Tūāhuriri hapū (subtribes) of Ngāi Tahu. He lived in Wakaroa (Pigeon Bay). He reportedly had a moko (tattoo) on only one side of his face. His nephew was Hone Taare Tikao, an informant of the historians J. W. Stack, James Cowan and James Herries Beattie. 

Tikao and his brother Tamati Tikao had been taken to Kāpiti Island by Ngāti Toa as captives in 1830. After he was freed he travelled as a sailor on a whaling ship. He visited France and gained a knowledge of the French and other languages. The French artist Charles Meryon drew a portrait of Tikao in Akaroa. 

In 1844, many people gathered in Akaroa on Tikao’s order to discuss the French land purchase there. In 1848, he signed Kemp’s Deed for the sale of the Canterbury region to the British Crown. In the following year he opposed Walter Mantell's proposed allotment of reserves at Akaroa. 

[1] Bunbury to Hobson in Claudia Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, p. 78

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