Story: Adoption

Ngātau Omahuru – the 'Fox boy' (1st of 2)

Ngātau Omahuru – the 'Fox boy'

Ngātau Omahuru, the son of Te Karere and Hinewai Omahuru of Ngā Ruahine in Taranaki, was kidnapped by colonial forces in 1868 during the New Zealand wars, at the age of six. He spent three years in a Wellington hostel before he came to the attention of Premier William Fox and his wife Sarah. Though Ngātau's parents were still alive, the Foxes informally adopted the boy and renamed him William Fox. He became a law clerk and travelled back to Taranaki in 1878 on legal business. He was reunited with his family and later resettled there. He continued to remember Sarah Fox with great affection.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PA2-2494
Photograph by William James Harding

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Anne Else, 'Adoption - Māori and colonial adoption', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 March 2023)

Story by Anne Else, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 18 Apr 2018