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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.




Founder of Hauhauism.

A new biography of Te Ua Haumene appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Te Ua was born at Waiaua, the son of Tutawake and Paihaka, of the Ngati Ruanui tribe of Taranaki. At the age of three he was captured at Rimupiko pa by the Waikatos and taken to Kawhia, where he was raised in slavery. Te Ua did not attend mission schools but his captors taught him to read the New Testament. On the establishment of British sovereignty, the Waikatos manumitted their slaves and Te Ua returned to Taranaki, where he came under the influence of Wesleyan missionaries. He acted as an assistant monitor (lay reader) to the mission, where his duties introduced him to the Old Testament. He was baptised by Whiteley, with the name Tamati Horopapera–supposedly a Maori corruption of “Zerubbabsel”, but which may perhaps be more appropriately rendered “Old Bible” or “Holy Writ”. Te Ua took no part in the Taranaki land feud, only taking up arms when Kingi became embroiled with the Imperial troops.

In September 1862 the Lord Worsley was wrecked off Cape Egmont and the local natives debated among themselves what should be done. A few, including Te Ua, wished the goods to be sent to New Plymouth intact. When this advice was ignored, Te Ua became ill and while in this state received a revelation from the Angel Gabriel who directed him to found a new religion. Fame of Te Ua's “miracles” spread; the new cult of Hauhauism gained many converts, and provided a basis for achieving Maori unity against the invading Pakeha. In September 1865, at the height of the Maori Wars, Parris, Government Agent, removed Te Ua from the rebels and settled him near Opunake for a time. In February 1866 General Chute captured him once more and handed him over to Sir George Grey, who induced Te Ua to accompany him on his tour of the disaffected areas. The sight of the Hauhau prophet in company with the Governor discredited him in his followers' eyes, so that, when he was released in Auckland a few months later, Te Ua faded from Maori history. With his prominent eyes, wavy hair, and drooping moustache, he looked the part of a prophet. His eclipse was so complete that even his date of death is unrecorded.

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

  • Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1864, E–8
  • Hauhauism–An Episode in the Maori Wars, 1863–66, Babbage, S. B. (1937).


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