(1760s-1849) was a Māori rangatira
and war leader of the Ngāti Toa
who took a leading part in the Musket
. He was influential in the original sale of
land to the New Zealand Company
and was a participant in the Wairau
Incident in Marlborough.
At some time around 1815, muskets became the weapon of choice and
changed the character of tribal warfare. In 1819 Te Rauparaha
joined with a large war party of Ngā
Puhi led by Tāmati Wāka
Nene; they probably reached Cook Strait before turning back.
Over the next few years the intertribal fighting intensified, and
by 1822 they were being forced out of their land around Kawhia.
Led by Te
Rauparaha they began a fighting retreat or migration
southwards,(this migration was called Te-Heke-Tahu-Tahu-ahi) one
which ended with them controlling the southern part of the North Island and particularly Kapiti Island, which became the tribal stronghold.
Attempts by various Southern Māori tribes to recover Kapiti Island
in 1824 were decisively defeated.
Trade and further conquest
stations became established in the area, and
Te Rauparaha encouraged them and many maori worked in them and some
wahine married Pākehā whalers, establishing a lucrative trade of
supplies for muskets thereby increasing his mana
and military strength. In 1827 he began the
conquest of the South
Island, and by the early 1830s he controlled most of the
northern part of it.
In 1831 he
took the major Ngāi Tahu pā at Kaiapoi after a
three month siege, and shortly after took Onawe pā in the Akaroa harbour, but
these and other battles in the south were in the nature of revenge
raids rather than for control of territory.
Planned European settlement
Te Rauparaha, contemporary
last years of Te Rauparaha's life saw the most dramatic changes. On
16 October 1839
New Zealand Company
commanded by Col William Wakefield
arrived at Kapiti. They were seeking to buy vast areas of land with
a view to forming a permanent European settlement. Te Rauparaha sold them
some land in the area that became known later as Nelson and Golden
On 14 May 1840 Te Rauparaha signed a copy
of the Treaty of Waitangi
believing that the treaty would guarantee him and his allies the
possession of territories gained by conquest over the previous 18
years. On 19 June of that year, he signed another copy of the
treaty, when Major Thomas Bunbury
insisted that he do so (Oliver 2007).
Te Rauparaha soon became alarmed at the flood of British settlers
and refused to sell any more of his land. This quickly led to
tension and the upshot was the Wairau Affair when a party from
Nelson tried to arrest Te Rauparaha and 22 of them were killed when
they fired upon Te Rauparaha and his people out of fear. The
subsequent government enquiry exonerated Te Rauparaha which further
angered the settlers who began a campaign to have the governor,
Capture and eventual death
Then in May 1846 fighting broke out in the Hutt Valley
between the settlers and Te
Rauparaha's nephew, Te Rangihaeata
his declared neutrality, Te Rauparaha was abducted but under the
guise of being arrested, near a tribal village Taupo Pa in what would later be called Plimmerton, by the Governor, George Grey, and held without trial
before being exiled to Auckland.
He was allowed to return to his people at
Otaki in 1848, where he died the following year, 27 November 1849
The most common haka
, or challenge, performed
by the All Blacks
and many other New
Zealand sports teams before international matches is "Ka Mate
" - composed by Te Rauparaha to celebrate his
escape from death in a battle in the early 1800s.
- Oliver, Steven. 'Te Rauparaha ? - 1849'. Dictionary of New
Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007. URL: