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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



(c. 1804–51).

Te Ati Awa chief.

A new biography of Pomare, Wiremu Piti appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Pomare, who was a chief of the Ngati Matunga branch of Te Ati Awa, came from northern Taranaki. He married Taiwhiti, the daughter of Te Rauparaha. In 1825–26 he came with Makore Ngatata to Wellington with the Nihoputa heke. When Te Rauparaha allowed them to settle by Wellington Harbour, Pomare built his kainga on the bank of the Kumototo Stream at a point nearly opposite where the Supreme Court, Wellington, now stands.

After the fall of Pukerangiora pa (1831), they were joined by other sections of the tribe and several disputes arose over land. In 1834 these matters came to a head and Pomare's brother Tewai was killed at Haowhenua. Shortly afterwards, when his wife's brothers desecrated Tewai's grave, Pomare sent her and two of her children back to Te Rauparaha. He then married Hera-Wai-taoro, a daughter of Te Manu-tohe-roa. In the same year he made over his rights at Port Nicholson to Te Puni and Wharepouri and prepared to move his people to the Chatham Islands. In November 1835 his warriors seized the schooner Rodney and forced the crew to transport the entire heke to the Chathams. There they found the inhabitants a peaceful people who were easily overcome and enslaved.

After Patuwenga's death in 1836, Pomare became the senior chief of the Ngati Matunga. He soon started a war with his Ngati Tama allies who had accompanied him in 1835. In June 1841, when this was concluded, Pomare sold a large tract of land to R. D. Hanson (later, Chief Justice of South Australia) and returned to Wellington. There his conduct towards the Ngati Tama and Morioris was censured by his kinsman, Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake.

In April 1844 Pomare was baptised by Hadfield and took the names Wiremu Piti (William Pitt). He died at the Chatham Islands on 29 January 1851 and was succeeded in his chieftainship by his nephew, Wiremu Naera Pomare, the father of Sir Maui Pomare.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

  • Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 1 (1892), “The Occupation of the Chatham Islands”, Shand, A.


Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.