Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare


Probably born in the late 1820s, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare was a Ngāti Maniapoto chief, who was renowned for his gifts of oration and diplomacy.

Iwi map - Wahanui Reihana Te HuatareIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Tracing his descent to Raka, Hotunui and Turango, Wahanui's father was Te Ngohi-te-arau and his mother was Tarati of Ngāti Waiora from the Piopio area.  His wife was Te Wairingiringi from Kawhia and while they had no issue they adopted children among whom were Tuwhangai Hounuku and Tuaarau.1

Wahanui was educated at Three Kings Wesleyan College in Auckland and remained a life-long Christian.  In the 1860s, he returned to live in the Waikato becoming one of King Tawhiao's closest advisors.  He often spoke on behalf of the King to government representatives and was opposed to land sales in the Ngāti Maniapoto area.  In 1883 he wrote a letter to, then MP, George Grey requiring the latter's support for the Maniapoto petition regarding their lands soon to be presented to Parliament.2

By the mid 1880s, with Pākehā settlement seeming inevitable, Wahanui sought to negotiate an arrangement with the government that attempted to ensure that Ngāti Maniapoto maintained responsibility for administration of their land, while allowing the national railway to pass through a section of it.

Remembered for his immense physical presence and public speaking ability, Wahanui was greeted by his descendants in the Visitors Book made available to those who saw his portrait, among them his grandson, Te Apaapa Kaweni Maniapoto of Otorohanga.

Wahanui died at Whataroa in 1897 and newspapers around the country carried his obituary.



  1. Manuka Henare. 'Wahanui Huatare - Biography', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1-Sep-10 URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/2w2/1
  2. Grey NZ Maori Autograph GNZMA 274, 11 June 1883, Whataora held at the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland.
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