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
11Sheet 9 — The East Coast SheetMa te nga TukareahoMātenga TūkareahoNgāti KahungunuNgāti RākaipaakaTūranga 5-12 May 1840

Mātenga Tūkareaho signed the East Coast sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi between 5 and 12 May 1840 at Tūranga (now Gisborne). He was a rangatira (chief) of Ngāti Rākaipaaka, a hapū (subtribe) of Ngāti Kahungunu, from Nūhaka in northern Hawke’s Bay. Mātenga had a son named Paul.

Mātenga appointed himself as a teacher before the mission station was built at Tūranga in 1840. He had lived in the Bay of Islands with Pōmare, but it is not known whether he was a slave or a guest. Mātenga returned to Hawke’s Bay in 1834 and became the first to preach at Te Uhi. He went to Tūranga for a while to escape from those who wanted to kill him, but eventually returned to Nūhaka. Mātenga carved the koruru (the carved face on the gable) on the Te Poho-o-Kahungunu meeting house in Pōrangahau, which inspired the symbol for Ngā Taonga o Tamatea ‘Hokowhitu’, a memorial to Hokowhitu Ropiha.

Mātenga wrote to Te Mātenga in Tūranga in 1854, advising him not to sell land as there was no room for Pākehā; future generations would need the land.

In 1864, Mātenga was recorded as being strongly in favour of selling land at Nūhaka to show that they were on the side of the government and wanted Europeans to settle among them. The following year, Mātenga took an oath of loyalty to the government at a meeting at Ihaka’s home in Māhia.

The sale of the Nūhaka Block was completed in March 1865. The 94 sellers had asked for £10,000 but received £3,300. In 1873 Mātenga signed for the sale of the Pātūtahi Block in Wairau.

Mātenga was photographed in the 1870s by the Napier photographer Samuel Carnell.

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