Probably born in the late 1820s, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare was a Ngāti Maniapoto chief, who was renowned for his gifts of oration and diplomacy.
IWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS
Tracing his descent to Raka, Hotunui and Turango, Wahanui's
father was Te Ngohi-te-arau and his mother was Tarati of Ngāti
Waiora from the Piopio area. His wife was Te Wairingiringi
from Kawhia and while they had no issue they adopted children among
whom were Tuwhangai Hounuku and Tuaarau.1
Wahanui was educated at Three Kings Wesleyan College in Auckland
and remained a life-long Christian. In the 1860s, he returned
to live in the Waikato becoming one of King Tawhiao's closest
advisors. He often spoke on behalf of the King to government
representatives and was opposed to land sales in the Ngāti
Maniapoto area. In 1883 he wrote a letter to, then MP, George
Grey requiring the latter's support for the Maniapoto petition
regarding their lands soon to be presented to Parliament.2
By the mid 1880s, with Pākehā settlement seeming inevitable,
Wahanui sought to negotiate an arrangement with the government that
attempted to ensure that Ngāti Maniapoto maintained responsibility
for administration of their land, while allowing the national
railway to pass through a section of it.
Remembered for his immense physical presence and public speaking
ability, Wahanui was greeted by his descendants in the Visitors
Book made available to those who saw his portrait, among them
his grandson, Te Apaapa Kaweni Maniapoto of Otorohanga.
Wahanui died at Whataroa in 1897 and newspapers around the
country carried his obituary.
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