Renata Kawepo, Tama Ki Hikurangi


Ngāti Upokoiri, Ngāti Hinemanu, Ngāti Kahungunu (? - 1888)

Iwi map - Renata KawepoIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Renata Kawepo's chiefly mother was Te Pakapaka and his father was Tumanokia. His ancestral name was Tama ki Hikurangi and his Christian name Renata (Leonard) was given to him when he was baptised in Waimate North in 1837. He married Maora and they had a son who died at six years of age.

Kawepo was a generous leader who held great mana over the expansive rohe of Heretaunga. He was also famous for wearing a patch over his eye lost in a skirmish at a Te Porere, in the heartland of Tongāriro.

In 1865 at the taking of Te Porere, Kawepo was clubbed from behind by a young woman from Taupo, the widow of Paurini, a chief who had been killed during the attack on the . In revenge for her husband's death she gouged out Kawepo's right eye. Kawepo held onto her until help arrived, and would not allow his people to harm her; he considered that she had acted correctly, and later married her.1 In 1881 in later life he would return to the Tongariro to take in the therapeutic waters of the hot springs to relieve his rheumatics.2

In February 1878 Renata took his two race-horses to compete in the Wellington Cup race day. The horses were named Otupai and Tawera.3 He also entered his horses at race meetings in Hawkes Bay, Napier, Masterton, Rangitikei and Havelock.

Photographer Samuel Carnell collected portraits by Lindauer including those of Renata Kawepo and Ana Rupene.4 It is likely that Lindauer based his 1855 painting of Kawepo using a Carnell photograph. Renata Kawepo died at Omahu on 20 April 1888.


  1. Angela Ballara and Patrick Parsons, 'Kawepo, Renata Tama-ki-Hikurangi ? - 1888', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 28 January 2010.
  2. MS Papers 0048, folder 4, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  3. 'Entrances for the Wellington Races', Marlborough Express, vol XIII, issue 996, 2 February 1878, p. 7, Papers Past, accessed 28 January 2010.
  4. 'Waipawa Exhibition', Hawke's Bay Herald, vol XXIII, issue 8230, 6 December 1888, p. 3, Papers Past, accessed 28 January 2010.
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  • Anonymous

    At 11am on 10 August 2013

    I have seen a print exactly as this painting. Is it of value to N.Z.??

  • Anonymous

    At 3pm on 29 July 2010

    According to information sourced at the "Museum in Whanganui" In a battle in which a Tuwharetoa Wahine had to endure watching her husband being killed by Renata Kawepo and hence gauged his eye out in revenge for his death. This to him was a good deed that had kept her alive and later his wife.....

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