Taraia Ngakuti Te Tumuhia


Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Tamatera, ( ? - 1872)

Iwi map - Taraia Ngakuti Te Tumuhia IWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Taraia Ngakuti Te Tumuhia was an important chief of the Marutuahu people of Hauraki. His Tamatera whakapapa included Ngati Kiriwera and Ngati Kahuwhatiki. His father was Kaharunga and his mother was Rewa.1

He had kāinga at Te Puru, Waiomu and Ohinemuru and was known to be cautious in all his dealings with Pākehā.2 He refused to sign the Treaty of Waitangi and claimed instead his right to resolve all disputes by agreement or force, in the style of his ancestors.

Written accounts of his life focussed on his cannibalistic past and the details have remained in the minds of reporters for the graphic accounts of such feasting. This enduring account was reported to have taken place in 1842. After killing a large number of enemy from Tauranga, Taraia transported a contingent of living slaves to Kauaeranga in Thames who were then dispensed with in a hangi. Before leaving he ordered a display of heads stuck on poles surrounding the . He sent a basketful of cooked flesh to Te Horeta Te Taniwha who declined to feast, saying he had stopped this ancient practice.3 His staunch reputation made him the most feared chief in the North Island.

In June 1856 Taraia sat for his portrait taken by photographer J. Crombie, who was commissioned to take photographs of 12 Maori chiefs and send the images to London for publication in the London Illustrated News.4 When Taraia died at Thames in March 1872 he was thought to be over 80.5


  1. The Treasury Journal, Volume 1. 2008, http://www.thetreasury.org.nz/ChiefTaraia/ChiefTaraia.htm, accessed 30 March 2010.
  2. Notes by W.T. Hammond. Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 26, November 1982, http://www.ohinemuri.org.nz/journal/26/notes_by_hammond.htm, accessed 31 March 2010
  3. ‘Tarai Ngakuti, the Last of the Cannibals’, Wellington Independent, vol XXVII, issue 3456, 26 March 1872, p 3, Papers Past, accessed 2 March 2010.
  4. ‘Local Intelligence’, Daily Southern Cross, vol XIII, issue 937, 20 June 1856, p 2, Papers Past, accessed 2 March 2010.
  5. The Treasury Journal, Volume 1. 2008, http://www.thetreasury.org.nz/ChiefTaraia/ChiefTaraia.htm, accessed 30 March 2010.
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  • Apanui Skipper - Ngāti Tamaterā / Ngāti Kiriwera

    At 11am on 10 June 2015

    The hapu name Ngati Kahuwhatiki should be spelt Ngati Kahuwhitiki.

  • david rhind - ngati paoa

    At 11pm on 4 November 2014

    Taraia of ngati maru also had strong blood ties to ngati paoa of {hauraki tamaki makaura} and both tribes had major victorious battles over the northern tribe nga puhi who later returned with muskets and devious night raids on hauraki settlements to decimate their waikato enemy after failing in hand to hand battle with taiaha and mere in the past.

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