Tāraia Ngākuti, a rangatira of Ngāti Tamaterā in the Coromandel, was one of many notable chiefs who refused to sign te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi). Tāraia was a famed warrior and may have felt that signing would be beneath him. Afterwards he claimed that since he had not signed, he retained the right to settle tribal disputes without deferring to Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson. As a result the British Colonial Office ruled that all Māori were British subjects, whether or not they or their rangatira had signed the treaty.
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