TE WERA, Hauraki Kaiteke
A new biography of Te Wera Hauraki appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Hauraki Kaiteke Te Wera was born at Te Ahuahu, Bay of Islands. His father was Kaiteke and his mother was Te Ao Kapu-Rangi, who was the daughter of an Arawa chief and one of the 40 captives taken at Mahia. Hauraki took the name “Te Wera” (“the burnt”) when his child died of burns. In 1817 he travelled to the East Coast with Titore and 500 Ngapuhi who, having muskets, easily gained ascendancy over the greater part of Mahia Peninsula. He accompanied Hongi in the attack on Mokoia in 1823 when Te Wera's wife saved many of her people. With Pomare he then left for Whakatane, capturing at Tunanui the fleeing Ngati Awa, whose pa at Puketapu they had taken. Leaving Pomare at Waiapu Te Wera then visited Maia to return one of its chiefs, Whareumu, whom he had captured there in 1821. Here he was offered leadership of the Ngati Kahungunu, whose land in the Heretaunga Plains was being encroached upon by the central tribes, particularly the Ngati-Ruakawa and Ngati Tuwharetoa. Later, in 1832, he was besieged for two months at Okura-Renga (called Kai-uhu “clay-eaters”) pa by the Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, and Te Arawa. Te Wera, assisted by northern reinforcements, repulsed the invaders and routed them at Mangatoetoe and Waipohue. Reprisals over, the Ngati Kahungunu remained unmolested in the Heretaunga Plains until the Hauhau craze of 1865. In 1836 Te Wera, with 1,700 Ngapuhi and Ngati Kahungunu, sailed North to claim “utu” for the deaths of Te Huki and his nephew, Marino, both of whom had been killed in 1823 by the Whanau-a-Apanui of Te Kaha.
A wise and successful leader in peace and a courageous strategist in war, Te Wera, in 1830, arranged with Pareihe an alliance of Hawke's Bay tribes. He was greatly influenced by the missionaries at Okura and prohibited the eating of the dead at Te Kaha. He returned to the Bay of Islands an old man, dying there in 1839.
by Robert Ritchie Alexander, M.A., DIP.ED.(N.Z.), B.T.(CALCUTTA), PH.D.(MINNESOTA), Teachers' Training College, Christchurch.
- The Early Journals of Henry Williams, Senior Missionary in New Zealand of the Church Missionary Society, 1826–40, Rogers, L. M (1961)
- Takitimu, Mitchell, J. H. (1944).