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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.


TE HEUHEU TUKINO IV (Horonuku) or (Pataatai)


Paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa.

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

Pataatai was born in 1821, the second son of Te Heuheu Tukino II (Mananui) by his wife Te Mare. At the time of the disaster in 1846 Pataatai was visiting relatives in the Waikato. On receiving news of his father's death he returned for the tangi and was accompanied by the principal Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto chiefs. He assumed the name Horonuku (meaning “landslide”) in memory of his parents' deaths. Owing to his youth and comparative inexperience, Horonuku was passed over in favour of his uncle, Iwikau (Te Heuheu Tukino III), who thus succeeded Mananui as paramount chief. On Iwikau's death in 1862 Horonuku succeeded him and assumed the family title as Te Heuheu Tukino IV.

In 1864 Horonuku gathered a taua (war party) of 200 men and journeyed to the Waikato to aid his relatives in their fight against the Pakeha. His uncle's friend and adviser, Rev. T. S. Grace, tried in vain to dissuade him. Although Horonuku was well disposed towards the missions, he felt that he could no longer guarantee Grace's safety and advised him to withdraw from Taupo. Grace went to Opotiki, where he stayed until Volkner was murdered. Meanwhile, Horonuku led some of his warriors down the Waikato River, while a second party from south Taupo joined the Ngati Raukawa at Orakau (April 1864). Horonuku reached Orakau after the siege had begun, but was unable to break through General Cameron's cordon. He therefore returned to Taupo where he remained peacefully for the next five years. During this period he gained a reputation as a wood carver.

Despite strong opposition from Tuwharetoa chiefs who were related to the Wanganui tribes, Horonuku allowed his family ties with the Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto to embroil him in Te Kooti's uprising. After the latters' defeat at Te Porere Horonuku went into hiding but was persuaded to surrender to Colonel McDonnell who had him escorted to Napier where he was turned over to Sir Donald McLean. Horonuku lived for a while at Pakowai, where he was the guest of Karaitiana Takamoana and other Hawke's Bay chiefs. In 1870, when the Te Kooti troubles appeared to be ended, he was allowed to return to Taupo.

In the sixties, Tuwharetoa lands, including the three mountains, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu, were leased to European settlers as sheep runs. In the early seventies, when the district was about to be surveyed, the Maoris learned that these mountains would become the site of trig, stations. Some Tuwharetoa chiefs feared that if Europeans were permitted access to these mountains, the traditional tapus associated with Tongariro might be ignored or broken. To avoid this, Horonuku, with the consent of many other Tuwharetoa chiefs, approached the Government with the suggestion that the mountaintops be given to the people of New Zealand as a National Park. On 23 September 1887 Horonuku signed the deed ceding these to the Native Minister, John Ballance. With his gifts he made two requests – that the Government should remove Mananui's remains from Tongariro and erect a suitable tomb for him – and that Horonuku's son, Tureiti (1865–1921), should be made a trustee of the National Park after his own death.

Horonuku died on 30 July 1888 and was succeeded as paramount chief by his son, Tureiti (Te Heuheu Tukino V), who later became a member of the Legislative Council. On his death in 1921 he was succeeded by his son, Hoani (Te Heuheu Tukino VI). Hoani died in 1944 when he was succeeded by his son Hepi who, as Te Heuheu Tukino VII, is the present paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa.

Horonuku was not a great soldier, but he was loyal to his own people and, by his gift of three mountain peaks, he deserves to be regarded as a public benefactor to the people of New Zealand. At the official opening of the Chateau in November 1929, a tablet commemorating the chief was unveiled. The inscription reads:

“Dedicated by the Tongariro National Park Board to the memory of the Te Heuheu Tukino (Horonuku) who presented to the Crown the Mountain Peaks of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe (sic) and part of Ruapehu, thus forming the nucleus of the National Park”. Then follows the Maori proverb first spoken by Tawhiao:

“Ko Tongariro te Maunga;
Ko Taupo te Moana;
Ko Te Heuheu te Tangata”.
“Tongariro the mountain;
Taupo the lake;
Te Heuheu the man”.

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

  • Tuwharetoa, Grace, J. te H. (1959)
  • The New Zealand Wars, Cowan, J. (1955).


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