Top Shows


King Tawhiao

P.TW Tawhiao Matutaera Tukaroto
I whakawaahia 1860

King Tawhiao was known as the Peace King.

He was raised by his maternal grandparents. During his adolescent years, his father encouraged him to be a man of peace. He was a Christian and a student of the Bible, as well as being well versed in the ancient rites of the Tainui priesthood. He was baptised and named the biblical, Matutaera.

Tawhiao, of the Tainui hapu (sub-tribe) Ngati Mahuta, was born at the end of the musket wars between Tainui and Nga Puhi. He was a Christian and well versed in the ancient rites of the Tainui tribe, and he had the status of a prophet.
As word of the Kingitanga spread, rumours grew among the Auckland settlers of a Kingitanga invasion. This was reason enough for the NZ Governor to move on Waikato and the Kingitanga, a growing influence among Maori. The Governor backed by a force of 18,000 troops, including some Maori forces known as kupapa.

On 12 July 1863 British troops crossed the Mangatawhiri stream. The Kingitanga had declared this to be an aukati - a line that should not be crossed - and considered any breach to be an act of war. The invasion of the Waikato had begun.
Invasion, military defeat and the confiscation of about 1.2 million acres (just under half a million hectares) of Waikato land in 1864 reduced Tawhiao and his people to refugees in Ngati Maniapoto country (which became known as the King Country). Despite this invasion Tawhiao maintained peace and the burial of war.

Tawhiao's reign was amidst the thick of land confiscations. His reign can also be known for maintaining Maori land that was being lost at a staggering rate. Tawhiao also established a Maori Government and is recorded to have Councils in different regions.


Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage,