Person Index

Wi Tako,

Wi Tako
b: 1800
d: 8 NOV 1887
Photo from Evening Post 19 October 1929 page 10
caption reads
The Hon. Wi Tako Ngatata, M.L.C.

Hutt City Library Online Database
Main Title: Poultry farmer''s house once owned by WiTako
Imprint: 1992
Notes: Indexes: Filing Cabinet
Summary: Bill Gadsby and his butcher shop, John (Jack) Weir, poultry farmer and market gardener once owned a home owned by WiTako and destroyed by fire in 1928.
Language: English
Subject: Taita
Heritage resources

Hutt City Library Online Database
Main Title: Te Mako
Imprint: c1920
Notes: Indexes: E8
Summary: Te Mako, the old house of the Honourable Witako Ngatata, MLC; situated near Park Avenue. Man standing at left is Percy Swain. Photographed by Alex Weir.
Language: English
Subject: Houses
Heritage resources

Wellington Independent 11 October 1859
Wiremu Tako v. John Buckeridge, Walter Harris, John Harrison, and Henry Lewyn.—
A charge of unprovoked assault. This case first came into court on the 16th September, Mr. Brandon appearing for the complainant, and Mr. Ward for the defendants, but in Consequence of the non appearance of one of the latter it was adjourned after part hearing to the 23rd; the Bar investigation of this case absorbed the attention of the Court for the whole of that day, and at its close the Resident Magistrate stated that before arriving at a decision in a case of so important a nature, and when the evidence was so conflicting, he deemed it advisable to reperuse the evidence and deliberately weigh the respective statements of the witnesses; and for that purpose he would postpone his decision to the following Wednesday (28th) at the Hutt.
Complainant (the Chief Wi Tako) deposed to the following facts:— On the 7th of the month he was returning to the Hutt from the Wairarapa. When he reached Mr. Harris''s place in the Upper Hutt he observed a half caste girl named Mary Harrison standing near Harris''s fence spreading clothes to dry. Mary Harrison is the daughter of complainant''s late wife by a former husband (an Englishman), and complainant now holds the relation of guardian to her; she is about 16 years of age and has been residing with complainant for many years she had been living at Harris''s in the capacity of house maid for several weeks prior to this date.) He rode up to her and saluted her in the usual terms. Mary Harrison told him she was uncomfortable in her present situation and wished to return home; he told her that she might please herself; she begged to be allowed to return at once; he according dismounted from his horse and accompanied her to the house to communicate the same to Mrs. Harris. Mrs. Harris and some other females endeavoured to prevent it and remonstrated with him for taking the girl away; to which he replied that it was the girl''s own wish to go, and he was bound to protect her. She was mounted on a steed and rode away with Wi Tako and his party. When they reached his settlement of Ohara they remained there for a short time to take some refreshment. Wi Tako with the girl and a party of six men proceeded down the Hutt road leaving the remainder of the natives at Ohara. After riding a few miles they met John Harrison, one of the defendant''s (Mary Harrison''s brother) with two other young men all on horseback. Harrison took hold of the bridle of his sisters horse and insisted on her going back with him, but failing in this he turned his horse''s head and rode along with the party, so also did his two companions. Harrison accused Wi Tako of running off with his sister and appeared to be very angry; they rode together for some miles when Harrison said something to his companions and then galloped off ahead of the party. The latter proceeded quietly down the road with Wi Tako at its head. When he came within sight of Buckeridge''s road-side Inn he observed John Harrison and several other young men standing in the road with their coats off and sleeves turned up and apparently ready for a fight. He dismounted and walking up to the former he remonstrated with him for his folly; Mr. Buckeridge senior, beckoned to him and they entered the house together, John Harrison accompanying them. He narrated the facts of the case to Mr. Buckeridge who then went out and spoke to the girl; he returned and stated that the girl refused to return to Harris''s, insisting on proceeding home with Wi Tako. Harrison then went out, and assisted by others pulled his sister off the horse and carrying her into the house, entered by a side door. Wi Tako attempted to follow but was held back by some whites; he afterwards entered but not finding her he turned to come out. When he reached the door, he found that a fracas had commenced outside between the natives and whites. As he emerged from the door the defendants assailed him. Lewyn struck him on the shin with a stick and he fell to the ground. Harrison then came up and struck him a blow in the eye with his fist, and Buckeridge Junior struck him on the lip with a piece of mud. Walter Harris struck him on the ribs. He remained insensible some time. When he came to himself the natives were all gone. He entered the house asked for a glass of water to drink, and washed his bleeding face. Suddenly he heard a great noise outside. He rushed out and found that the natives had returned in a most excited state, one armed with a tomahawk and the others with sticks, and were breaking the windows of the house and doing other violence. He saw that bloodshed was likely to ensue and seizing a stock whip he commenced to belabor (sic) them with it right and left, at the same time assuring them that he was not hurt. Finding that he whose wrongs they were avenging was flogging them unmercifully, they soon desisted, and departed in a body homewards, Mary Harrison, who had made her escape from the house, accompanying them. Complainant stated that he had received some very serious bruises on the face, ribs, and shins, and still suffered considerable pain from them.
He then called several witnesses, Natives and Europeans, to corroborate his statements''; after which several Europeans appeared for the defence, who contradicted some parts and qualified others of complainants evidence.
On the 23rd of September, at the Hutt Court, (as above stated) the Resident Magistrate having commented on the case, — speaking in the highest terms of Wi Tako''s discreet conduct on the occasion of this affray, and expressing his conviction that had he encouraged the infuriated Natives in their purpose great mischief, if not bloodshed, would have ensued — expressed his opinion that whatever paliation there may have been for the defendant Harrison (who conceived that complainant was taking away his sister without her consent) there was none for the other three defendants: John Harrison fined ten shillings, John Buckeridge, Walter Harris, and Henry Lewyn, fined 40s. each, and costs £2 6s. 6d.

Evening Post 19 October 1929
(By "Condor.")
Having now reached the twentieth biography in this series, I cannot refrain from giving a place to one of those Maori friends of the early pioneers, to whose loyalty it may almost be said that the young settlement owed its existence.
The Hon. Wi Tako Ngatata was born in Taranaki in 1800, and lived there for the first 36 years of his life. Then the pressure of the Waikato from the north upon the unarmed Taranaki tribes became almost unbearable, and about 1837 three leading Ngatiawa chiefs — Te Puni, Wi Tako, and Wharepouri — lead their tribesmen southwards towards Port Nicholson in order to avoid the invaders and to get into contact with the white men, from whom they themselves could obtain firearms. During this excursion the Ngatiawa defeated bodies of the Ngatikahungunu, whom they found in possession of portions of the Manawatu and Wairarapa, and Wi Tako''s own taua advanced as far northward as a point 60 miles beyond Napier. There they made peace with the enemy and allowed them to return to the Wairarapa, while they themselves settled around the shores of Port Nicholson and on the West Coast.
The Muaupoko were finally dispossessed of any rights they still held in the district, and Wi Tako himself is said to have taken a vigorous part in the last massacre at Ohariu, when 150 Muaupoko of the doomed tribe were killed and eaten. When Wakefield reached Port Nicholson towards the end of 1839 and made his purchase of laud this handsome young chief received on behalf of his father the share of the purchase to the Natives occupying the pas at Pipitea and Kumutoto (both now buried in the concrete of the modern city). He arrayed himself in a good suit of clothes from the "trade," and on 27th September, 1839, signed with his mark the deed of purchase laid upon the capstan of the Tory. Ngatata signed tho Treat of Waitangi in April, 1840. Wi Tako''s standing amongst the Natives appears to have been at least as good as that of the aged Te Puni and Wharepouri. He led the speeches when Acting-Governor Shortland visited Port Nicholson in the dark days of 1843, and was a good friend of the pakeha in the Wairau crisis. That he was well regarded socially is evident from the fact that he once dined at the table of Judge Halswell. In the ''forties Wi Tako and his followers removed from their pas in Wellington to a new position at Ngahauranga. When Boulcott''s farm was attacked in 1846, Wi Tako took command of a strong body of his own people, and assisted in driving the attackers across the range, through the Horokiwi Valley, and beyond Paekakariki.
After the peace following the capture of Te Rauparaha, Wi Tako was appointed a Native assessor, and in that capacity he assisted Sir Donald McLean in the acquisition of many thousands of acres of land in the Hawkes Bay district. That he was not unmindful of the rights and wrongs of his own people was evident in the early sixtics, when he found himself drawn by the injustice of Waitara towards the King movement. At a memorable gathering at Otaki in those days he said to Sir George Grey:—
"Listen to me, Governor; to the first of my thoughts about joining this King work. It was the crookedness on the side of the pakeha. This is the crookedness of which I complain — Rawiri''s death when he was following after the work of the Government, and the driving of Wi Kingi off his own land. This is the reason I left the side of the pakeha, because I saw the wrong. Then I took up the King''s work."
Throughout his life Wi Tako followed faithfuly and strictly the injunction laid upon him by his predecessor in 1842, and when he died he handed it over to his people: "After my death lean upon the law and the Scripture as your father."
The Hon. Dr. Grace, speaking in the Legislative Council, said: "There was a time when Wi Tako held the balance of power between the Maori King Potatau and the English Queen; a time during the war when he had 2000 armed men under his control, and had he thrown, his tomahawk to the right or the left, and lent his influence to the Maori King, I do not-know what would have become of this settlement. I say we have lost in him one of the greatest Natives this country, rich in great men, has over borne. What sacrifices did the honourable gentleman make for the benefit of the Europeans! He imperilled by his loyalty to us the whole of his influence with the Native race. It was then Wi Tako, failing to be carried away by the passing impulse of the moment, holding the scales between the two races, gave us the full advantage of his sympathy and, ultimately, of his support. I have heard the late Dr. Featherston say of him, "Wi Tako is the cleverest man, black or white, in the country. His word was as trusty as ever his tomahawk had been, and, as was well said of him, he had no two tongues — what he promised he performed. I remember to-day with glowing admiration the chivalry, valour, and magnanimity of this great race of people, who are dying out from our midst, leaving but the memory of their achievements behind them."
In 1872 Wi Tako was called to the Legislative Council, where his quiet dignity and common-sense won him the respect, of his fellows. He was also from that time till his death a member of the Board of Native Trustees. His death occurred on 8th November, 1887, and he was accorded one of the largest funerals ever seen in Wellington. Ministers of the Crown members of Parliament, and a large force of military took part. In his address, at the graveside at Petone, Archbishop Redwood said:—
"We are here to-day to do honour to the remains of one who has earned
the esteem, admiration, and gratitude of all New Zealand. He saw from the beginning the great advantages of civilisation and culture. He took his stand on the side of progress, and as a citizen, a legislator, and a great leader of men he showed himself worthy of all honour from both races during his life and of this splendid demonstration in his behalf to-day. He embraced cordially the saving truths of Christianity; he died a Christian death. As a man I admired him. As a Christian I admired him still more, and right gladly do I join my tribute to that of all the colony and deposit my wreath of grateful esteem upon his noble remains."
Wi Tako was the oldest surviving member of his tribe. He was twice married, but left few descendants. Mrs. Daniel Love was a daughter.

Evening Post 25 October 1929
query Wi Tako

more articles after this date

Probate Wi Tako Ngatata, Place: Lower Hutt, Occ: Aborig Ntv MLC (sic), Date: 8/11/1887, AAOM 6029 2928, Filed: 20/12/1887, Will, Archives NZ, Wellington
  • 1800 - Birth - ; Taranaki
  • 8 NOV 1887 - Death -
Wi Tako
1800 - 8 NOV 1887
Family Group Sheet - Child
MWi Tako
Death8 NOV 1887
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