Te Puoho ki Te Rangi
Te Puoho (also known as Te Ngarau), ariki of Ngāti Tama, was born at Poutama, northern Taranaki, son of Whangataaki II and Hinewairoro. His whakapapa connected him to major lines from several waka from Hawaiki, including important leaders of other iwi. His high birth, courage and fighting skills saw him become paramount chief when more senior relatives were killed about 1820-1821.
Te Puoho and some Tama joined Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Rarua and Ngāti Koata, who had been ousted from Kawhia by Waikato and Maniapoto, on their heke (migration) south to Kapiti in 1822. Te Puoho returned to Taranaki to lead a large Tama contingent, accompanied by many Te Atiawa under their own chiefs on Te Heke Niho Puta of 1824. He was involved in a number of skirmishes and retaliatory raids in the southern North Island between 1824 and about 1828 when the Tainui Taranaki alliance invaded Te Tau Ihu. Te Puoho led warriors to attack Wairau districts and destroy pa and kainga in the Marlborough Sounds. When the taua (war party) split at Pelorus Sound, he and Atiawa and Rarua chiefs assailed western districts, while Te Rauparaha's Ngāti Toa brigades besieged the east coast to Kaiapoi.
Te Puoho and Te Manutoheroa (Atiawa) captured Te Pakipaki, Ngāti Apa chief of Te Mamaku Pa, at Moutere and, at Pakipaki's request, killed him with his own mere pounamu, Te Kokopu. When the conquest was complete, Te Puoho and Te Koihua (Atiawa) remained in northwest Nelson to maintain control, while other warriors continued south into Te Tai Poutini.
Te Puoho established bases at Parapara and Wakapuaka. He had two official wives and several slave wives. By his first wife, Hinetawake of Tainui lines, Te Puoho fathered three children who accompanied him to Te Tau Ihu - Tikawe (f), Hori Te Karamu (m) and Herewini Te Roha (m). When his brother Taaku was killed in battle, Te Puoho married Taaku's widow, Kauhoe, as expected by tikanga. He thus acquired four stepchildren (already his nieces and nephews) - Paremata Te Wahapiro (m), Miriama Konehu (or Hingatu) (f), Kahiwa (f), and Mutumutu (m). Te Puoho and Kauhoe had one child who grew to adulthood, Wi Katene Te Puoho (or Manu, Emanu), chief of Wakapuaka and father of Huria Matenga.
In 1836, a restless Te Puoho decided to proceed via the West Coast of the South Island to Murihiku with the intention of ridding the island of Ngāi Tahu. Leaving Rotokura, his pa at Wakapuaka, accompanied by his nephew/stepson Paremata Te Wahapiro as senior lieutenant, Te Puoho gathered supporters as he travelled west. The taua covered several hundred kilometres of difficult terrain on foot before turning inland at the Haast River to reach Otakou. When the northerners attacked a Ngāi Tahu fishing camp at The Neck, a young man slipped away to warn his relatives. Te Puoho captured Tuturau Pa near Mataura (in Southland) on 18 January 1837, but his forces - weakened by their epic, sometimes hungry journey - were unable to defend the pa against a Ngāi Tahu counter-attack led by Tuhawaiki five days later. Te Puoho was shot and killed by John Topi Patuki. Paremata was captured, but later returned to Wakapuaka by the Ngāi Tahu chief, Taiaroa, in recognition of Te Puoho's and Paremata's kindness in allowing Taiaroa and his people to escape safely from the siege of Kaiapoi (1831).
Updated April 2020
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Further sources - Te Puoho ki Te Rangi
- Anderson, A., (1986) Te Puoho's Last Raid: the march from Golden Bay to Southland in 1836and defeat at Tuturau. Dunedin: Otago University Press
- Mitchell, H.A., & Mitchell, M.J. (2004) Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka: A History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough, Vol I, The People and the land. Wellington, N.Z. : Huia Publishers p137. pp105-106, 109-110, 120, 123, 135-137.
- Orange, C. (Ed) (1990) The People of Many Peaks [The Maori Biographies from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Volume I]. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs and Bridget Williams Books, pp12, 21, 27, 44, 45, 61, 90-91, 112, 127, 139, 150-151.
- Smith, S. P. (1910) History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast: North Island of New Zealand prior to 1840 New Plymouth : Thomas Avery pp285, 294-295, 393, 400-401, 423, 436, 442, 469, 497, 537, 542-551.
- McLintock, A. H. (1949) The History of Otago: the origins and growth of a Wakefield class settlement. Dunedin, NZ: Otago Centennial Historical Publications
- Jones, P. te H. (1959) King Potatau : an account of the life of Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Māori king. Wellington, NZ: Polynesian Society
- Pomare, M & Cowan, J. (1930) Legends of the Maori. Wellington, N.Z. : Harry H. Tombs
- 'TE PUOHO, Ki te Rangi', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. In Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 22-Apr-09 Available from
- Anderson, Atholl. 'Te Puoho-o-te-rangi ? - 1836-1837?'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007