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
123Sheet 1 — The Waitangi SheetTaonuiMakoare Te TaonuiNgāpuhiTe PopotoMangungu 12 February 1840

Makoare Te Taonui signed the Waitangi sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi on 12 February 1840 at Mangungu, Hokianga. He was a rangatira (chief) from the Te Popoto hapū (subtribe) of Ngāpuhi.

Taonui met Anglican missionary Samuel Marsden in 1819 and later visited Sydney. Along with other northern chiefs, he signed a letter to King William IV in 1831, asking for protection from the French. In 1835 he signed the Declaration of Independence. During the Northern War of 1845–46 Taonui supported the Crown against Hōne Heke Pōkai.

Taonui is said to have spoken strongly against the Treaty of Waitangi: ‘We are not … willing to give up our land. It is from the earth we obtain all things. The land is our Father; the land is our chieftainship; we will not give it up.’ [1]

And later in the debate: ‘“Ha, ha, ha, this is the way you do,” cried Taonui. “First your Queen sends Missionaries to New Zealand to put things in order, gives them £200 a year. Then she sends Mr. Busby to put up a flag, and gives him £500 a year, and £200 to give to us natives. Now she sends a Governor.”

“Speak your own sentiments, not what bad men have told you,” retorted Captain Hobson.

“I do,” replied Taonui. “I have not been to Port Jackson, but I know Governors have salaries.”’ [2]

Later, after a confrontation between Governor William Hobson and Frederick Maning (a trader who lived in Hokianga), Taonui softened his stance.

“Lo, now for the first time my heart has come near to your thoughts. I approach you with my whole heart. You must watch over my children; let them sit under your protection. There is my land too; you must take care of it, but I do not wish to sell it. What of the land that is sold? Can my children sit down on it? Can they – eh?” [3]

Taonui died in September 1862.

[1] T. Lindsay Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi: or, how New Zealand became a British colony, Mackay, Wellington, 1914, p. 138

[2] The Treaty of Waitangi: or, how New Zealand became a British colony, pp. 138–9

[3] The Treaty of Waitangi: or, how New Zealand became a British colony, p. 141

If you have more information about this treaty signatory please add a community contribution below or contact us at [email protected].

How to cite this page

'Makoare Te Taonui', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Jun-2016

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Jamie M

Posted: 09 Mar 2018

The signatories for the Treaty sheets were gathered over several months in 1840, not just on 6 February


Posted: 22 Feb 2018

Why is the date stated as 12 February 1840? Did Makoare sign later than 06 /02/1840 or has an error been made in the above article?

Murray Painting

Posted: 28 Jul 2017

Te Taonui actually said " I do... have I not been to Port Jackson, I know governors have salaries