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.


Signing

SignatureSheetSigned asProbable nameTribeHapūSigning Occasion
1Sheet 1 — The Waitangi SheetKawitiTe Ruki KawitiNgāpuhiNgāti HineBay of Islands 13? May 1840

Te Ruki, ‘the Duke’, Kawiti was a reluctant signatory to the Treaty, having earlier signed He Whakaputanga. A brilliant military strategist who fought against British forces in the 1845–46 Northern Wars, he was responsible for some of the earliest anti-artillery bunkers used in warfare. Before his death he told his people to hold onto the ways of their ancestors and to wait ‘until the sandfly nips the pages of the book [i.e., the Treaty]; then you will rise and oppose’.


Read a brief biography on NZHistory
Read a full biography on Te Ara Biographies

If you have more information about this treaty signatory please add a community contribution below or contact us at webqueries@mch.govt.nz.

How to cite this page

'Te Ruki Kawiti', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty/signatory/1-1, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 8-Feb-2019

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