Tamati Ngapora Manuhiri


Ngāti Mahuta (? – 1885)

Iwi map - Tamati NgaporaIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Tamati Ngapora was born in the early nineteenth century and belonged to Ngāti Mahuta of Waikato. His parents were Hore and Kahurimu. He was the nephew of Te Rauangaanga and a cousin of Potatau Te Wherowhero. He and his family became Christians, and he took the name Tamati (Thomas). His wife was named Hera. They had at least one daughter, also named Hera.1 Ngapora was a native clergy until he joined the Hauhau.2 After the New Zealand land wars at Waikato, Ngapora became a right-hand man to Tawhiao the Maori King. He asumed the name of Manuhiri, which means a guest, and refers to the fact that his land and that of his people was taken from them and that he was living upon the hospitality of another tribe.

His physical appearance was described by the correspondent of the Southern Cross newspaper as:

His features and his attitude were a subject worthy of the pencil of a Salvator Rosa. He is closely tattooed, with short hair, plentifully besprinkled with grey. His height is medium, and he is well made and robust looking though age has evidently begun to tell upon him, for the nimbleness and vivacity of youth have disappeared. He moves in a deliberate, dignified way... and he speaks in a quiet, reserved tone, but very pleasingly. I thought, as the old man sat before me and talked with us, that I detected an air of sorrow in his looks. Now and then there was a twitching about the mouth, and the lines with which age and care had furrowed his face contracted themselves.3

In 1881 Tawhiao formally submitted to the Government at Alexandra (Pirongia). He was accompanied by Ngapora and other leaders. Ngapora continued to live at Whatiwhatihoe, the royal village in the King Country, where he died on 5 August 1885. He was believed to be about 80 years of age.4



  1. Steven Oliver, 'Ngapora, Tamati ? - 1885', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 28 February 2010.
  2. Te Miringa Hōhaia, 'Taranaki Tribe - Resistance', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 4 March 2009, accessed 28 February 2010.
  3. ‘The Waikato Chiefs’, Timaru Herald, vol XIV, issue 614, 15 April 1871, p 3, Papers Past, accessed 28 February 2010.
  4. Steven Oliver, 'Ngapora, Tamati ? - 1885', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 28 February 2010.
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