NGATATA I TE RANGI, MAKORE
Te Ati Awa chief.
A new biography of Ngatata-i-te-rangi appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Makore Ngatata was born in Taranaki about 1790, the son of Rangiwhetiki and Pakanga. Through his mother he was a great grandson of Te Whiti-o-Rongomai I, founder of the Ngati Whiti branch of Te Ati Awa. Ngatata spent his first 30 years in Taranaki, but little is known of this part of his life. He is said to have been one of the few survivors of the Taranaki taua's attack on Rewarewa pa in 1806. He was probably among the defenders of Pukerangiora, during the first Waikato invasion. Because he feared his tribe's ability to hold out against the musket-bearing Waikato, he determined to move away from Taranaki. In 1824 he led some of his people in the Nihoputa heke, which was attacked by Ngati Rauru while it was passing through their country en route for the Otaki district. Two years later a Te Ati Awa party, under Wharepouri, was attacked by the Ngati Ruanui and a chief, Te Karawa, was killed. As a result of this the Te Ati Awa sent Ngatata to seek the aid of the Waikatos. He interviewed Te Wherowhero at Motepoho and then went on to Mangatoatoa, where he addressed the assembled Waikato chiefs with such effect that a party of 4,000 warriors, under such notable chiefs as Te Waharoa, Tarapipipi and Naera, accompanied him back to Taranaki. There they were joined by Wharepouri and a large party of Te Ati Awas and the combined forces waged a fierce campaign against Ngati Ruanui.
In 1829 Ngatata led a taua to avenge the attack on the 1824 heke. Two years later his tribe were among the defenders of Pukerangiora pa and, after its fall to the Waikatos in December 1831, Ngatata was one of those who, along with Dicky Barrett, successfully defended Ngamotu pa (New Plymouth) when 350 Waikato warriors were killed. After the siege Ngatata and other survivors emigrated southwards to join their relatives who had settled at Otaki, Wellington, and in the Queen Charlotte Sound area. In the Wellington area they fought many skirmishes against the Ngati Kahungunu settled there.
In 1840, when Ngatata was a very old man, he placed his signature on the Treaty of Waitangi and, through his son, Wi Tako, assented to the sale of Wellington lands to Colonel Wakefield.
In 1842 Ngatata retired from his chieftainship in favour of Wi Tako. From then until his death he lived quietly near Wellington. He died at the Otago Heads in 1854 while visiting his daughter, Karoraina, who had married Taiaroa, the Otago chief. Ngatata's wife, Whetowheto of the Ngati Ruanui, died at Wellington and was buried at Waikanae.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
- Tainui, Kelly, L. G. (1949)
- History of Taranaki, Wells, B. (1878)
- History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast, Smith, S. P. (1910).