Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Chief of the Ngati Haua tribe of the Waikato.

A new biography of Te Waharoa appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

When still an infant, Te Waharoa with his widowed mother was taken captive by Ngati Whakaue of Rotorua, whose chief later regretted having allowed him to grow to manhood and to return to his own tribe. Waharoa played a part in driving Ngati Raukawa from the Waikato. Their place was taken by Ngati Maru but, after years of skirmishing and a final battle at Taumata-wiwi near Karapiro, Waharoa forced them to return to their lands at Thames.

In 1834 Te Waharoa showed a desire to live in peace and to have a missionary stationed at Matamata, but the following year he took the field against Ngati Whakaue to avenge his cousin's murder, sacking Maketu and besieging Ohinemutu.

Archdeacon Brown, who knew the old cannibal chief well, wrote: “Waharoa was a remarkable character, fierce, bloody, cruel, vindictive, cunning and brave and yet, from whatever motive, a friend of the mission”. Waharoa died at Matamata on 20 September 1838 and was succeeded by his second son, Wiremu Tamihana, the so-called king maker.

by John March Booth, M.A., DIP.ANTHR.(LOND.), Secretary, New Zealand Maori Council, and the Polynesian Society, Wellington.

  • The Story of Te Waharoa, Wilson, J. A. (1866)
  • Such Things Were, Vennell, C. W. (1939).

The Story



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