Wi Te Manewha


Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Hahoro (?- 1891)

Iwi map - Wiremu Te ManewhaIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Wiremu Te Manewha was born at Maungatautari, south of Cambridge. His mother was Hikitia of Ngāti Raukawa. He married Raita Te Wahanga of Ngāti Raukawa and they had a daughter Enereta Te Whakarato.

Te Manewha was also known as Wiremu Kingi Te Manewha and he moved to Otaki under Te Whatanui around 1834 to join Ngāti Toa rangatira Te Rauparaha in his efforts to control Wellington and the coastline north of the district. By the 1890s, Te Manewha was one of few rangatira who did not convert to Christianity. He died on 16 November 1891 in Otaki.1

On the cover of James Cowan's book Pictures of Old New Zealand (1930) is the image of Te Manewha's lifemask.  The cast of was taken by Sir Walter Buller2 and Gottfried Lindauer for the purposes of display. Two masks were made and retained by Buller and Lindauer. This 1893 commentary notes some of the objects displayed in the New Zealand Court exhibit at the Imperial Institute in London, including a wax model of Te Manewha. This is the correspondent's description:

During the last few days Sir Walter Buller has made a striking addition to the objects of interest in the New Zealand Court. This is a most lifelike group of Maoris, of full size and beautifully modelled in wax. They are in characteristic positions, and clad in true Maori costume. The group consists of a man, woman, and girl. The man, who is elaborately tattooed all over the face, is a model of Wiremu Kingi te Manewha, the well-known Ngatiraukawa chief, of whose face Sir Walter brought home a plaster cast. He is standing beside the moa skeletons, and in front of the great kauri plank, thus giving a good idea of proportions, and is dressed in an embroidered robe of finely dressed flax, with a rough shoulder mat above, whilst he holds in his right hand the carved staff or taiaha.3


  1. Nga Taumata: He Whakaahua o Ngati Kahungunu; A portrait of Ngati Kahungunu: 1870 – 1906 (Wellington, Huia Publishers: National Library of New Zealand: Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc., 2003).
  2. Ross Galbreath, 'Buller, Walter Lawry 1838 - 1906', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 3 March 2010.
  3. ‘How the Glengarry was Abandoned’, Bay Of Plenty Times, 28 August 1893, p 3, Papers Past, accessed 3 March 2010.
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