Honiana Te Puni, the eldest son of Rerewha-i-te-rangi and Puku, belonged to Ngāti Te Whiti and Ngāti Tawhirikura hapū of Te Ati Awa. His wife was Wikitoria Muri-tu-waka-roto and they had seven children.
With his uncle, Raua-ki-tua, he escaped Taranaki invaders attacking Rewarewa Pa by leaping from the cliff into the Waiwhakaiho River. He thus acquired the name Te Puni-kokopu.
He and Te Wharepouri, were involved in the defence of Pukerangiora pa, the battle against the Waikato at Motunui (about 1822) and they also made contact with Jacky Love and Dicky Barrett (around 1828). Te Puni visited Sydney in the Tohora in 1828.
Following the defence of Otaka Pa, 1831, Te Puni with many Te Ati Awa, migrated to Waikanae in the heke Tama-te-uaua. Te Puni cultivated at Te Koanga-a-umu, near Porirua, then moved to Okiwi and Palliser Bay.
With his people he spent time in Wairarapa, moved back to Matiu (1836) and was then invited by Matangi and Te Manihera to take up residence at Pito-one.
Te Puni and Te Wharepouri boarded the Tory, 20 September 1839, indicated the boundaries of land, and, with others, signed a deed of purchase on 27 September 1839 with the New Zealand Company. He also signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Port Nicholson on 29 April 1840.
Te Puni and Wi Tako were friendly with the settlers, and after the Boulcott farm incident were issued with 100 muskets to help keep peace. Te Puni became a friend of Governor Grey and the settlers, but later protested against Donald McLean’s purchase of the Waitara block. He died 5 December 1870.
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Below you'll find two encyclopaedia entries for Te Ati Awa chief Honiana Te Puni, published 24 years apart — one in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, and one published in 1990 in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography by Angela Ballara. Both are made available through Te Ara — The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Te Puni's signature on the Treaty
"Henry Williams, who had translated the Treaty of Waitangi into Māori, sailed from the Bay of Islands on 2 April 1840 with two Māori-language copies of the document. He left one with his brother William Williams at Tūranga (Gisborne) on 8 April. He arrived at Port Nicholson (Wellington) in mid-April, but for 10 days could not persuade chiefs to sign. A meeting was finally arranged on the schooner Ariel on 29 April, when 39 chiefs signed" (NZHistory.net)
On the library site
Here are some resources related to Te Puni that the library has provided digital transcriptions of to make available online:
These can be accessed through the National Library of New Zealand
- He who digged a pit : a tale founded on fact, and other stories / by William Freeman (1889), p. 14/o
- Manual of New Zealand history / by J. Howard Wallace, p. 27
- The hand-book for New Zealand : consisting of the most recent information / compiled for the use of intending colonists by a late magistrate of the colony, who resided there during four years (1848), p. 100
- Adventure in New Zealand from 1839 to 1844 : with some account of the beginning of the British colonization of the islands / by Edward Jerningham Wakefield (1908) p. 52 etc, 137, 145, 150, 157
- The story of New Zealand : past and present : savage and civilized / by Arthur S. Thomson, Vol. 2 (1859). p. 226.
Digitised books & miscellanea
- Polynesian mythology / Sir George Grey (1855), p. 300
- Earliest New Zealand : the journals and correspondence of the Rev. John Butler / compiled by R.J. Barton (1927), p. 416, 420, 426
- The Death and burial of Te Puni, 1870. In Louis Ward's Early Wellington, (pp. 173-176).
- Index entry for Te Puni (Person)
This collects all references to Te Puni across the NZETC
- Funeral of Honiana Te Puni (1870, 9 December) Evening Post. Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Funeral of Te Puni (1870, 10 December) Evening Post. Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Death of Te Puni (1871, 3 January) Wellington Independent. Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Wellington. (From our own correspondent.) (1870, 20 December) North Otago Times. Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Wellington. (From our own correspondent.) (1870, 21 December) Taranaki Herald. Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Local and General News (1871, 3 January) Wellington Independent. Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Funeral of Epuni (1872, 2 February) Wellington Independent. (Pertains to erecting a mausoleum) Retrieved from Papers Past.
- Death of Te Whiti ; The Big Tangi ; Interesting Reminiscences ; A Quiet Day (1907, 22 November) Taranaki Herald. (within “Death of Te Whiti”). Retrieved from Papers Past.
Letters & Manuscripts
Donald McLean Papers
Donald McLean (1820-1877) was an influential figure in mid-19th century New Zealand history. He was a dominant figure in relations between Māori and the Government during this tumultuous period These letters are from the Donald McLean Papers, and are pertaining to land issues.