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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.


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also known as Te Heuheu the Great (1780–1846).

Paramount chief of Tuwharetoa tribe (Taupo).

A new biography of Te Heuheu Tukino II, Mananui appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Mananui was born about 1780 at Pamotumotu near the Mangatutu River and was the son of Te Heuheu Tukino I (Herea) (q.v.) and Rangiaho, a chieftainess of the Maniapoto. He could trace his ancestry to Tamatekapua, the commander of the Arawa, and to Ngatoroirangi, the priest of the same canoe, and was thus distantly related to Potatau Te Wherowhero and to Te Rauparaha. As chief, he strengthened his position by marrying two grand-daughters of Rangituamatotoru and so united the east and west subtribes of Tuwharetoa. He earned the name “Mananui” (meaning “Great Prestige”) when his uncle, the much respected Tohunga Taipahau, on his deathbed, passed to him his mana and powers.

Mananui gained the respect of his tribe for his fighting prowess and leadership against the tribes from the Hauraki Gulf. Later, in 1828, in the wars against the Ngati Kahungunu (Hawke's Bay), he was made commander-in-chief of a composite force from the Waikato, Ngati Maniapoto, Wanganui, Ngati Maru, Ngati Raukawa, and Tuwharetoa tribes. In turn he had to face the avenging Kahungunu and their allies who stormed Omakukura pa and would have swept on into the Waikato had not Mananui made peace with them. In 1825 he travelled with a war party as far as Kapiti, where he declined to join Te Rauparaha's federation. In 1834, in response to a request from Te Rauparaha for aid in settling his disputes with the Ngati Awa tribes who were located in the south, Mananui led a taua (war party) of 800 men. After heavy fighting in which his brother, Papaka, was killed, the Ngati Awa were defeated at Pakatutu. In the peace which followed the vanquished tribe agreed to remain south of Waikanae. Mananui then proceeded with his taua to the Port Nicholson area, where he showed his resentment at the influence the missionaries were gaining. He did not long retain this feeling, however, for when Bishop Selwyn visited him at Taupo in 1843, he made an appeal for a missionary to work among the Tuwharetoa. When his brother, Iwikau (Te Heuheu Tukino III), signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Mananui repudiated the signature, saying that he would not subject his mana to a woman or Queen.

Mananui lived at Te Rapa (near Tokaanu) with his eight wives. On 7 May 1846, after Taupo had experienced heavy rainfall, an avalanche swept down the Kakaramea Mountain and overwhelmed Te Rapa. Iwikau, and Mananui's second son, Pataatai (Te Heuheu Tukino IV), were the only two to escape. Iwikau succeeded to the paramount chieftainship of Tuwharetoa. After the appropriate rites, the bodies of Mananui (found clutching the famous mere Pahikauri) and his favourite wife were exhumed and placed in a vault at Pukawa. Later, Iwikau had the remains placed in a cave half way up Tongariro. In 1910 these were removed to Waihi, where they were interred in a vault built by the Government.

A man of advanced views (for he forbade his tribe to indulge in cannibalism), Mananui was the most influential chief in the interior of the North Island and one of the most distinguished Maoris of his time. He was over seven feet tall and well proportioned – a superb military tactician, a great general and a wise counsellor. Mananui was always respected by his enemies because of the chivalrous way in which he fought.

by Robert Ritchie Alexander, M.A., DIP.ED.(N.Z.), B.T.(CALCUTTA), PH.D.(MINNESOTA), Teachers' Training College, Christchurch.

  • King Potatau, Jones, P. te H. (1959)
  • Tuwharetoa. Grace, J. te H. (1959).


Robert Ritchie Alexander, M.A., DIP.ED.(N.Z.), B.T.(CALCUTTA), PH.D.(MINNESOTA), Teachers' Training College, Christchurch.