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
1Sheet 8 — The Cook Strait (Henry Williams) SheetTuarauTuarauTe Āti AwaNgāti TāwhirikuraPort Nicholson 29 April 1840

Tuarau usually lived in Waikanae but signed the Cook Strait (Henry Williams) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi on 29 April 1840 at Port Nicholson (Wellington). He was a Ngāti Tāwhirikura rangatira (chief) from the Te Āti Awa iwi (tribe). He was the grandson of both Tautara and Maheuheu, the son of Hineone, and the nephew of the former head rangatira of Te Āti Awa, who was nicknamed ‘Wide Awake’ by flax traders. 

In 1834 Tuarau sold 70 acres to George Clarke, land which was transferred to the Church Missionary Society in 1837. Tuarau was among 16, including Te Matangi, Te Puni, Puakawe and Te Wharepōuri, who signed the sale of the Port Nicholson Block to William Wakefield of the New Zealand Company in 1839. A tenth of that land was to be reserved for the rangatira and their descendants. 

It is believed that Tuarau was the warrior who stood at the front of the canoe when theTory was welcomed into Port Nicholson harbour in September 1839.

In November 1839, Tuarau was sent in the Tory with Te Wharue, Te Puni’s eldest son, to Taranaki to advise Te Āti Awa there to sell land to the New Zealand Company. 

See also Wellington City Council, Nga Tupuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Volume 3, Wellington City Council & Wellington Tenths Trust, 2005, p. 61

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