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Tāmati Wāka Nene (c. 1785 - 4 August 1871) was a Māori rangatira (chief) who fought as an ally of the British in the Flagstaff War. Tāmati Wāka Nene c. 1870 Contents 1 Origin and mana 2 Support for the Treaty of Waitangi 3 Flagstaff War 4 Colonisation 5 References Origin and mana Tāmati Wāka Nene[1] was born to chiefly rank being connected to most of the notable Māori families in Tai Tokerau, the Bay of Islands and Hokianga regions of the North Island of New Zealand. He was related to Hongi Hika and could trace his ancestry by a number of lines back to Rāhiri, the founder of the Ngā Puhi iwi. He rose to be one of the war leaders of the Ngā Puhi taking an active part in the Musket Wars of 1818-1820. He successfully took his warriors on a rampage the whole length of the North Island, killing and plundering as he went until he reached Cook Strait. It is said that he advised Te Rauparaha to acquire muskets to enhance his influence. In 1828 he successfully averted a war between the Māori of the Bay of Islands and the Hokianga. Then his older brother moved south to what is now the Auckland region, Hauraki, and soon after the paramount chief of the area died of wounds received in battle. Wāka Nene now became the highest ranking chief among his own people and one of the three primary chiefs of the area. At baptism, he added "Tāmati Wāka" (Thomas Walker) to his name. Support for the Treaty of Waitangi A memorial for Tāmati Wāka Nene, in front of Christ Church, Russell (Māori-language side). Early on he had recognized the value of trade with Pākehā and used his position as chief to protect and encourage both the traders and the Methodist missionaries. He was baptised in 1839 taking the name Thomas Walker or Tāmati Wāka. He also worked with the British Resident, James Busby to regularize the relationships between the two races. In 1835 he signed the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand which proclaimed the sovereignty of the United Tribes. At the negotiations leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi[2] Ngapuhi chief Te Wharerahi disagreed with his brothers Rewa and Moka 'Kainga-mataa' and spoke for peace and the acceptance of the European, and was duly supported by Nene and Patuone.[3] Nene's influence was significant in persuading many of the tribes to sign the Treaty. However it is probable that he took the document at its face value; it is extremely unlikely that he saw himself ceding any of his authority as chief of his people. The next few years saw a considerable loss of revenue and influence for the northern tribes. The capital of the new country was soon moved down to Auckland. Customs duties were also imposed. Then the Government began to interfere with the management of land, specifically they forbade any further felling of kauri trees, Agathis australis. Flagstaff War A memorial for Tāmati Wāka Nene, in front of Christ Church, Russell (English-language side). Most of the northern chiefs, including Nene, had serious concerns with workings of the new Treaty. However Nene was still prepared to negotiate and to hope for the best and gave Governor Robert FitzRoy promises to keep the peace on behalf of his fellow chiefs. So when Hone Heke cut down the flag pole for the fourth time, Nene was mightily offended, feeling that his mana had been trampled on and Nene was already at war with Heke when the British troops began to arrive on the scene. They fought side by side, as allies but with almost complete incomprehension about each other's intentions. Nene described the British commander, Colonel Despard, as 'a very stupid man'. Despard on the other hand said "if I want help from savages I will ask for it". History tends to support Nene's opinion. Heke and Kawiti were only defeated once in the conflict, at Te Ahuahu on 12 June 1845, by Nene with no help from the British. After Ruapekapeka, Heke and Kawiti, were ready for peace. It was Tāmati Wāka Nene they approached to negotiate with and with him that they concluded the terms. Nene then went to Auckland and told the Government that their war was over. Colonisation The Government lost a great deal of mana and influence in the North as a result of the war much of which flowed to Wāka Nene. He and Heke were recognized as the two most influential men in the Tai Tokerau region. He was given a pension of one hundred pounds a year and had a cottage built for him in Kororareka (Russell). He continued to advise and assist the Government on matters such as the release of Te Rauparaha in 1848. When George Grey was knighted he chose Nene as one of his esquires. Then when he returned for his second term of governorship in 1860 he brought Nene a silver cup from Queen Victoria. Tāmati Wāka Nene died 4 August 1871 and is buried at Russell. The then Governor, George Bowen said the Nene did more than any other Māori to promote colonisation and to establish the Queen's authority. References ^ Tamati Waka Nene biography from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography ^ [1] - Maori Signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi ^ Colenso, William. (1890). The Authentic and Genuine History of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington: Government Printer Persondata Name Nene, Tamati Waka Alternative names Short description Date of birth 1785 Place of birth Date of death 1871 Place of death