Te Hira Te Kawau


Te Taou, Nga Oho, Ngāti Whatua (? - 1888)

Iwi map - Te Hira Te KawauIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Tracing his descent to the Mahuhu waka, Te Hira Te Kawau was a high-born chief of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), who took part in many land sales with the Crown.

Te Hira Te Kawau lived most of his life at Okahu and was a rangatira of Ngāti Whatua.

His father was Apihai Te Kawau, who signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 20 March 1840 at Orakei,1 and his mother was Kirepiro of Te Taou.

Te Hira is known mostly for his forming part of a small group of chiefs, including his father Apihai and his cousin Paora Tuhaere, described as 'leaders of the dominant groups within Ngati Whatua  … [who] had the mana to decide what happened to most of the Ngati Whatua lands during these years'.2 Upon the death of his father, the mantle of paramount chief of Ngāti Whatua went to Paora Tuhaere.3

Lindauer painted both Te Hira and Tuhaere, inscribing the reverse of Te Hira's portrait, 'Chief Hira te Kawau G Lindauer pinx 1874'.  Te Hira wrote his name in the artist's notebook, one of the few remaining examples of his handwriting.  The page is headed up 'For Mr Partridge' and appears as number 17, 'Hiroto te Kawau'.4 In addition, the portrait was one of those sent to the St Louis World's Fair in St Louis, Missouri in 1904.5




  1. Ruby Kerei, Steven Oliver and Ani Pihema, 'Te Kawau, Apihai ? - 1869', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 5 March 2010.
  2. Paul Goldsmith and Michael Bassett, Puketutu and its People, (Auckland: David Ling, 2008), p 21.
  3. Steven Oliver, 'Tuhaere, Paora ? - 1892', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 5 March 2010.
  4. Notebook of Gottfried Lindauer, MS X-3092, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  5. ‘Louisiana Purchase Exposition’, Wikipedia – the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 28 January 2010.
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    Contributed story - Te Hira Te Kawau contributed by Stella James on 17 July 2012

    I have a letter written by my aunt, my mother's eldest sister, Violet Harwood, nee Wilkins, in which she says that Te Kawau te Hira was a brother to Te Whakaawa (my great great grandmother).  Sarah te Whakaawa married William Nicholls on Matakana Island.  Their children included my great-grandmother, Hariate (Charlotte) Smallman  who married John Guilding, Joseph Harris Smallman and Alfred Stack.  My grandmother was Lilian Matilda Smallman/Stack.  If any one knows more about my history I would be delighted to speak with them.

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Pito korero about Latest comments about Te Hira Te Kawau

We welcome your comments on the portraits.

  • shirlee simmons

    At 4pm on 30 March 2013

    Hi My sons friend gave him 2 portraits and he bought them home. One of the portraits is a replica of Te Hira Te Kawau. painted by Gottfried Lindauer. This appears to be quite old. I have no way of finding the original owner so I would like to return this to his family. Could someone help locate his family so that I can send this to them, please email me shirleesimmons@gmail.com Thank you

  • kathy

    At 8am on 4 March 2013

    Kia ora Stella...I don't see any connection to our kuia with Te Kawau as he is from Ngati Whatua..neither of his parents is the parent of Te Whakaawa. Have to say though, I don't know where Te Taou is.

  • kathy

    At 8am on 4 March 2013

    Kia ora stella...just read your story...Not sure about Te Kawau being our kuia's brother as he is from Okahu Bay, Ngati Whatua as is his father..don't know where Te Taou is where his mother is from...I don't see the connection...still interesting korero

  • Anita

    At 2am on 25 February 2013

    Hi Stella, or should I say Cousin! If you search 'Whakaawa' on the NZ Rootschat.com forum you will find a lot of information about her family & I also hope to connect to you that way. Hope you see this message Anita

  • Anonymous

    At 10am on 17 May 2012

    I am wanting information about my great nanny Mere Hira Te Hira Te Kawau daughter who was the wife of Iehu Moetara son of Hapakuku Moetara and is there any photos of her.

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