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
89Sheet 8 — The Cook Strait (Henry Williams) SheetMahiMohi MahiNgāti ApaNgāti Tauira, Ngāti Rangiwaho, Ngā Potiki, Ngāti RangiwhakaturiaTawhirihoe 21 May 1840

Mohi Mahi signed the the Cook Strait (Henry Williams) sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi on 21 May 1840 at Tāwhirihoe pā, which was located between the Rangitīkei and Manawatū rivers.

Mohi Mahi was born around 1775 and was said to be 100 years old when he died. He came from the once large and aggressive Ngāti Rangiwaho hapū, which was a branch of both Ngāti Rangiwhakaturia, the dominant hapū on the lower section of the Whangaehu River, and Ngāti Tauira (at Rangitīkei). Ngā Potiki was the branch of Ngāti Rangiwaho that Mohi lead after the death of Te Ahuru o te Rangi at Kāpiti Island. He was closely connected to Kāwane Te Hākeke and sites in the Parewānui, Rangitīkei-Manawatū, Tatahi, and Rakautaua Blocks. Mohi was married to Hipora.

According to tribal historian Grant Huwyler, Mohi was a renowed fighter. He is said to have defeated a Ngāti Kahungunu chief named Tuawhea during their attempt to occupy Rangitīkei in the early 1800s, and when the Amiowhenua expedition of 1820 attacked and defeated Ngāti Rangiwaho at Ohingāwa on the north bank of the Rangitīkei River estuary, Mohi killed one of the attackers and took his body. Later, Mohi was captured by a joint Taranaki/Ngāti Toa war party but managed to escape.

When Ngāti Raukawa leader Te Whatanui came across Motuiti pā in northern Manawatū, which was largely sheltering women and children, Mohi is said to have carried Te Hākeke’s son to safety. Te Whatanui used several of the women captured from Motuiti to engage Te Hākeke, Mohi, Taueki and other local leaders in peaceful negotiations, releasing captives as a sign of good faith.

Upon Te Hākeke’s death, Mohi became deeply concerned that Pākehā were allowing stock to trample over the urupa where Te Hākeke was buried, and is said to have removed his bones to another location. Mohi died in 1875.


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How to cite this page

'Mohi Mahi', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 18-Feb-2020

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