William was born about 1843 (the Coroner’s report had him aged 73 years when he died) in the Hokianga area, Northland (birth certificate number unknown). He was born the first son of Captain John James Stanaway and his second wife Witaparene Minarapa.
Various official papers have differing middle names for William, a number of the birth certificates for his children state either just William or add middle names of either James or John. It is generally understood that his middle name was Henry.
Schooling if any may have been limited, I am sure he would have be able to speak both English and some Maori. His reading and writing may have been very limited.
We do not have anything on his early life. No doubt William would have been helping his father with the various enterprises he had on the go, whether it was piloting, felling trees, sawing, or manning the store, not one of those jobs was full time, and this would have been his lot from an early age.
The first record we have of William is on 19 April 1865, as a 22 year old, he has been attested by a Mr Charles Heath as being a householder, house in occupation in Tokatoka and therefore being eligible to participate in, and being added to the electoral roll. We can only assume he was either living with his father or in close proximity.
On 7 February 1870, William is selected to be in the Auckland Club Rowing Crew, being a member of the pilot crew which included rowing through the Kaipara Heads from an early age we can assume this was plenty of training. The Thames Club challenged the Auckland club to a 3 mile race starting at Queen Street Wharf round a buoy off Shelly beach and back, in four-oared gigs. William was on the No.3 ore and weighed in at 11st. and 12lb. Auckland were to wear Scarlet and white. (An article refers to William having been in an earlier regatta). I have been unable to find any result of this race.
Again he is listed, aged 27, along with his father on the Electoral roll of 1870-1871 in the district of Marsden, Northland located in the town of Tokatoka.
“Stanaway, William – Tokatoka, house in his occupation.”
On 11 April 1871, William (28) and Susan Anderson (23) are married in Kaipara, the registration is in Helensville, Auckland, New Zealand. Helensville being 40km NNW of Auckland by the minister but the marriage was at the home of Charles Nelson (husband of Williams half-sister Isabella) of Kaipara 20km further Nth near the Stanaway’s- witnesses were Henry Stanaway (William’s half-brother) & Isabella Nelson.
William lists his occupation as a contractor.
Later this year, in1871, William and Susan have their first child – Ellen (Helen). – As a side note William’s father is still having children of his own with Sarah, in fact he has two more children yet to be born (James John and Frederick).
Being part of the pilot’s crew helping to bring ships into and around the Kaipara harbour, together with his half-sister and half-brother (all who were part of their father’s crew) should have been his future.
However in 1872 he was over looked as being the predecessor to Captain James (the man who took over from William’s father) in favour of another man who had no knowledge of the harbour but had a Certificate to be a Pilot. A letter to the editor reads as follows;
“Kaipara Harbour and its Pilots – to the Editor:
Sir, to say that we as a people, residents of Kaipara, simply express astonishment at the conduct of our Provincial Government, by entrusting a second time the pilotage services of this important harbour to an utter stranger, were to draw it exceedingly mild. Ti is not simply astonishment, but indignation at what we may presume to call one-eyed folly of those provincial rulers who pretend to have the interest of its people at heart. Now, sir, it would be presumptuous on my part to address a letter to a public paper unless I could advance some sound reasoning with it. This I shall endeavour to do.
I believe, sir, when I assert that a pilot on the English coast is not allowed to take charge of any vessel unless he has previously served a term of apprenticeship, and holds a master’s certificate, I do no more than assert the truth. And is it not right that it should be so – not only for the safety of the vessel, but also for the safety of the valuable lives she may have on board? In England it is not merely “the man with a certificate” that is wanted, but the man with the experience and practical knowledge of the place which he undertakes to pilot for. In the province of Auckland, it certainly seems to be that a certificated person is a qualified one. Is this true, sir?
Verily, we have only to look at the charred bones of the once favourite Midge, to stamp it as a direct falsehood. Wherefore do we need a man who holds a certificate for navigating the globe, when it is harbour navigation that is required? Would a shipload of certificates help a man in navigating the rivers of the Kaipara, where the banks are numberless and continually changing? Verily not.
Then this fact alone proves that the man with the practical knowledge of the Kaipara harbour is the man to hold the important position of pilot, and would be “the right man in the right place.” Was not such a man as this to be found among the many applicants for the situation there were, and whose application was well marked by the signatures of those who had every confidence in his ability – say nothing of his being born in the district of Kaipara and his life being spent upon the bosom of its waters?
I have not the least hesitation in saying that Mr. William Stanaway would have been the man for the Kaipara pilot. I suppose the difficulty will be surmounted in much the same way as with the late pilot, namely, by sending his own men – who were fully acquainted with the harbour – to pilot strange vessels to their destination – thus proving that those who held situations as pilot’s boatmen were more qualified for the situation of pilot than that all-important personage himself. – I am, &c., Defender of the Right.”
No doubt this letter was written by one of his relatives, I suspect his half-sister’s husband, Captain Nelson (I have no proof but he was a well-educated man).
This must have been a great blow to William, and his father, I suspect the lack of schooling would have made any attempt to gain the suitable requirements to be certified were beyond William’s ability, and so he looks to work in the forestry industry full time.
In 1873 William’s second child and first son is born, he names him after his own father – John James. We can only imagine John James senior being very amused with his name sake. William is listed as a sailor on John James birth certificate.
It may have been about this time he moves from Tokatoka to Aratapu, on the other side of the river about a few miles north. The location of a new saw mill and town.
The Daily Southern Cross paper on 1 January 1874 lists the results of the annual cricket match between Married and Bachelors held on Boxing Day at Mangawhare. Both William and his half-brother Henry play in the match for the married, William bats last in both innings and gets a pair in both. The final result was called a tie as many had to catch the departing ferry and the game could not be completed.
William had been working in the timber industry, and by 1874 he is working as a contractor to the Te Kopuru Saw-mill. He employed a number of men in his crew, a report in the New Zealand Herald on 4 April described an accident which happened to one of Williams employees, it reads;
“I have just heard of another fatal accident at one of the Kopuru bushes. A bushman named Michael Ruddy, in the employ of Mr. William Stanaway, contractor for Te Kopuru Saw-mills, was killed on Wednesday, 25th inst., by a tree striking him on the head. An inquest was held at Mangawhare on Thursday, before Mr. Webb, Coroner, and the following evidence given – George Loram deposed: The deceased was working with me yesterday morning in the Awakeno bush. We had just felled a kahikatea tree, and in its fall it bent down a dry tarairi; this tree released itself and sprang back; the force of the recoil broke the tarairi about three feet above the ground, and the upper part of it struck deceased with great violence on the head, knocking out his brains and killing him instantly. I saw the tree falling and called out to the deceased, but he had not time to get out of the way. William Stanaway deposed; Deceased was in my employ; he was about 33 years of age, and had been a soldier in the 2nd Battalion 18th Royal Irish. I do not know of any friends of deceased residing in the colony. – Verdict: “Accidentally killed by the falling of a tree.”
It is at this time in William’s life – August 1874 – that, his father dies.
In the Annual Northern Wairoa Regatta, 27 March 1875, in the second race – single handed punt race –William comes second in what was described as “a very good race indeed.” William’s half-brother Henry was also competing in other races.
Between 1875 and 1881, William and Susan have five more children, William Alfred (1875), Abraham (1876), Frederick Michael (1877), Thomas Anderson (1879), and Emily Annie (1881). Sadly Thomas dies in 1880, at just 8 months old.
On 21 May 1880 the Te Kopuru School building was completed, Susan was involved in the decorations for the celebrations according to the Auckland Star article published on 29 May 1880 on page 3.
William had a serious accident in 1881 while working at the Te Kopuru Mill. He broke his arm badly, and the first attempt to reset it did not work so it had to be reset a second time. The Auckland Star reported on 25 May 1881;
“A man named Stanaway, who has been in the hospital for some time suffering from a broken arm, has recently had to undergo a painful operation, rendered necessary by the discovery that the two ends of the bone had not been well enough set to ensure their junction. An incision had therefore to be made on either side of the flesh, and the ends of the bone cut off for the purpose of superinducing inflammation, so that they may be united together again. The operation was successfully performed, and the patient is now doing well.”
William was off work for some time, he must have been well liked in the community and by his employers as a concert was organised for his benefit. The Auckland Star on 9 July 1881 reads;
“The co-operators of the Aratapu and Te Kopuru mills contemplate giving a concert as a benefit to Mr W. Stanaway, who met with a serious accident at the Te Kopuru mills some time ago. As the cause is a deserving one, we heartily wish it every success.”
Following the accident William must have struggled. His name appears on a bankrupt notice in the Auckland Star on 6 June 1883, which reads;
“The first meeting of creditors in the estate of William Stanaway, settler, of Helensville, was held today, when Mr Thomas Macffarlane was elected trustee. The debtor’s liabilities are stated as 82 pounds 7 shillings and 2.5 pence, and he has no assets.”
In 1887 William won the contract to construct the swamp drains on Rewiti Road. He won the tender with a price of 38 pounds and 11 shillings, the Engineers estimate was 47 pounds and 17 shillings.
In 1888, George Abraham is born, then, in 1889 William’s son Frederick Edward dies aged 7 years. The same year, 1889, Charles Victor is born, followed by Montrose in 1892 and then Leonard James in 1896, only to pass away in 1904 aged eight.
The New Zealand Herald on 24 September 1895 published a story about one of William’s son’s – we are unsure which one – the article reads;
“A somewhat serious accident happened to a son of Mr. William Stanaway on Saturday. He was in a paddock with some others endeavouring to catch a horse, when the animal knocked or kicked him in some way so that he was made insensible. The blow caught him on the forehead just above and in front of the temple. He was carried home and a messenger sent for the doctor. Dr Norton was soon in attendance and did all that was possible for the lad, put the patient remained unconscious for several hours. He, however, rallied under the close attention and skill of the doctor and is now progressing.”
During February 1902 William was employed by Brown & Sons to construct a building when doing so he had a fall and had been unable to work for nearly a year. By May of that year William had an application in terms of the Workers Compensation for Accidents Act filed, (Refer Auckland Star 2 May 1902) and was claiming compensation. The result was published in the New Zealand Herald on 17 January 1903 and reads as follows;
William Stanaway, builder, of Aratapu, claimed from Messrs. Brown and Sons, of Te Kopuru, compensation in respect of an accident which befell him on February 24, 1902. The claimant alleged that owing to a bracket being insecurely fastened and carrying away he was thrown a distance of about 10ft from a building on which he was working, and that he sustained various injuries, including three broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade, and a broken and a twisted finger on the right hand. He also alleged that he was partially incapacitated for life, and that his left arm would be useless for a considerable time, and would never be of the same use as it was before the accident. The sum of £1 4s per week as claimed. The claimant appeared on his own behalf, and Mr JR Reed appeared for Messrs. Brown and Sons, who had paid £12 into Court. They denied that claimant had been injured to the extent stated, and considered the sum paid ample compensation.
The claimant, in giving evidence, said he was 60 years of age, and that he had agreed with Messrs. Brown and Sons to work for 9s a day. He had worked 11 days before the accident, and was paid 9s a day for this period. He had been treated by Dr Purchas, and he informed the latter of the injury to his fingers as well as the other injuries. In answer to Mr. Reed, he said that he had an accident 22 years ago, and, as a result of this, had an ununited fracture of the arm prior to the last accident.
The President said that Dr Purchas certified in April last that claimant was fully recovered.
The witness said that he had arranged to be examined by Drs Lindsay and Walker at one o’clock, and the case was adjourned till half-past two to obtain their evidence.
On the Court resuming at half-past two p.m., Dr Lindsay was called. He stated that he examined the claimant’s injuries some months ago. He found nothing except the old ununited fracture of the arm, and that assuming that he had sustained injuries on February 24 he had recovered from them at the time of the examination. He had again examined claimant that day, in consultation with Dr Walker, and again found that there was no apparent injury, except that resulting from the old accident.
The claimant said that he had not the same power in his arm now as he had before the last accident.
The President said, according to the evidence before the Court, the claimant had fully recovered on April 15 last, and the most that the Court could award up to that time, even assuming total incapacity for that period, was 50 per cent, of his previous earnings, or £1 7s a week, making £9 9s in all. The respondents had paid £12 into Court, or more than claimant was really entitled to, and the most that the Court could do was to order that this amount be paid out. The claimant was awarded the £12 paid into Court.
In late 1903 tragedy hits William, his youngest son Leonard James drowns while going bathing alone.
From the 1905 Electoral we have William living in the Kaipara district in Aoroa as a carpenter and Susan in Aratapu, why the two different locations am not sure but they are within 1km of each other on the western side of the Wairoa River just north of Te Kopuru.
On 6 October 1906 in the New Zealand Herald we have a report of William’s carpentry tools having been stolen and John Steel being remanded on the charge. It reads;
“John Majorbank Steel was remanded for eight days, to appear at Rawene, on a charge of stealing carpenter’s tools to the value of £2 10s, the property of William Stanaway.”
By 1909-1910, the family have moved from the Kaipara and headed south to Auckland – 69 Symonds Street, Grafton. A number his children with their wives or husbands along with a few grand-children lived here at different times until at least 1919. The house has long since been demolished and a high rise has taken its place.
The Auckland Star on 10 April 1915 reported on the fall out between William and Susan, where it appears that William has gone eccentric or quite mad. The reporter records the case as follows;
“AFTER FORTY YEARS WIFE SEEKS SEPARATION. – AN ECCENTRIC DEFENDANT.
It seems a sad thing that after having been married over forty years, and reared ten children, two old people should, towards the evening of their days be unable to live together. Such a case occupied the Magistrate’s Court for a long time yesterday afternoon, when a Mrs. Stanaway, who gave her age as 65 years, sought a separation by order of the Magistrate, from her husband, aged 73 years. The grounds of the application were alleged persistent cruelty. Mr. Styak represented the complainant.
When Mr. C. C. Kettle asked “Does your husband live with you?” the answer came from defendant, who stood up, saluted, and said, “Yes, my Lord.” “Has your husband any income?” was also answered by defendant, who said, “Yes, I have a pension.”
“He cannot contribute anything to his wife from his pension,’ remarked the magistrate, whereupon Mr. Styak said. ‘”The wife is not asking for any maintenance; she simply wants him to keep away from her.
Mr. Kettle: What is the trouble between these two old people who have lived together all these years?
Mrs. Stanaway said her husband had not been so bad until recently.
Defendant interjected: “Oh, I have been mad for years.”
Mr. Kettle: Keep quiet, please. Probably you are, but I don’t know. How long has he been eccentric?” (To Mrs Stanaway)
Wife: I don’t know. He met with an accident at Te Kopuru. I think his head was injured. That was nine or ten years ago, and since then he has been peculiar.
Mr. Kettle: What does he do with his pension?
Defendant: Spend it on the house.
Mr. Kettle: Keep quiet, please.
Mrs. Stanaway: While he has money he spends it on the house.
Defendant: And when it’s done, he goes without.
Wife: He has bought food for himself.
Mr. Styak: Has he bought food for the house?
Defendant: I say that is not the question.
Mr. Kettle (to Mr. Styak): Why don’t you take proper proceedings for a case like this? I don’t say he is mad, but he is certainly most eccentric. If medical men consider him mentally defective, then he can be dealt with.
When the complainant was giving evidence of cruelty, the defendant shouted as he marched backwards and forwards in court, “You said you would hit me with the rolling-pin, and I said if you did, I would knock you down with the chair. When you got a constable he could do nothing, he had no warrant.”
Mr. Kettle: The wife must be protected if the man is mentally defective.
Defendant (laughing): They say I am mad, but I don’t think I am so very mad.
The wife said she could not live with her husband any longer.
Defendant: Bring a doctor in and feel my bumps, and see if I am mad.
Mr. Kettle: Is there any one you can stay with away from your wife’s place?
Defendant: Why should I stay away when I am buying the place?
Mr. Kettle: Where did you get the money?
Defendant: That’s my business. I have my pension.
Mr. Kettle: How will you live, then?
“On the smell of an oil rag.”
Mr. Kettle: The man is decidedly most eccentric. He should be examined.
Defendant: To put me in Mt. Eden?
Mr. Kettle: No, a mental hospital if the medical men consider you mentally defective.
“No thank you, not for me.”
Mr. Kettle: If you can buy a house, why should you get the old age pension?
“If the Government gives it me, why should not I have it? If you put me in the mental hospital, you will have to tie me or I’ll get out.”
Mr. Styak intimated that he would call another witness, whereupon the defendant shouted: “Here, don’t waste that man’s time,”‘ pointing to the magistrate.
At this stage of the proceedings, it was agreed not to proceed further with the application, it being indicated that other action was contemplated.”
The end result was that William was taken and housed on 9 April 1915 in the Whau Lunatic Asylum in Avondale, otherwise known as the Oakley Hospital and which today is used by Unitec. It is recorded that his family visited him from time to time.
On 22 January 1916, aged 73, William passes away. From the Coroner’s Report he dies of valvular disease of the heart and dropsy. He had been in bed for some weeks.
He is buried at the Waikumete Cemetery next to his grandson Charles Frederick Daniel (Plot 42) who was buried there the year before. It will also be the same plot for his son Montrose only 2 years later, There is no headstone remaining or any indication of the exact plot. (Anglican Division F Row 8, Plot 40).
In total William and Susan had 15 children, three girls and twelve boys, tragically William outlived at least four of his children that we know of and Susan a further two.
Susan Anderson (Anihana) 1846 – 1920
Susan was the daughter of Captain John Havelock Anderson (1788-1873) and Te Ruhi Taonui (1823 – ????) and was born in Hokianga, New Zealand. There is conflicting information on the year of her birth – her marriage certificate has 1848 and her death certificate has 1846. There is no record in the New Zealand BD&M.
The only record outside of the electoral rolls of Susan is when in 1880 she is mentioned in helping decorate the hall to celebrate the opening of the new school at Te Kopuru.
Susan out lived her husband William, by four years, she dies on 22 March 1921 at the age of 75 of senile decay over six months, and is buried in the Otahuhu Cemetery Area 2 Lot number 220. No doubt she did not want to be buried next to her late husband (Death Certificate number 1920/10285). The Transcription reads;
“In loving memory of my dear mother Susan, beloved wife of the late William Stanaway, died 22 March 1921. Also Jack, died 23 December 1931. Always remembered by Ellen.”
As well as discrepancies with her birth there is also discrepancies with her death, we have some documents stating 1920 and other saying 1921. Her death certificate states 1920 but her headstone states 1921.
Susan’s father, Captain John Havelock Anderson was a New Zealand whaler in 1820, merchant shipping to Australia till 1842. He appears to have only been captain once to Sydney & back with a three man crew and one passenger.
John married Te Ruhi Taonui, a Maori chief’s daughter, and lived in Hokianga from about 1830, where he worked as logger/boat builder, until his death.
Many of his descendants with the surname Anihana, that being Maori for Anderson, were born in the Hokianga district.
In the Clendon Census of the Hokianga, 1846 he appears as the only Anderson residing in the Hokianga, John Anderson, Carpenter, Native wife and 2 Children – one of those children may have been Susan. (John James Stanaway is on the same census as James Stanaway NW two children – the two families would have known of each other as there were only 48 other families listed in that census in the Hokianga).
In the 1854 census he is now a freeholder still working as a carpenter, he once again appears as the only Anderson. He apparently settled at Utakura, and once boasted, that he had married a half-sister of the great Maori spiritual leader Aperahama Taonui.
John acquired land which is described below from the Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, From the Year 1815 to 1840, with Pre-Emptive and Other Claims Wharewharekauri Block (John Anderson’s), Hokianga District
1834 – 23 November.
Hokianga District. Wharewharekauri Block (John Anderson’s), Hokianga District.
Know all Men by these presents that I Tounue a Native Chief of the River Hokianga Wharewharekauri. John Anderson. New Zealand Hath this day namely the Twenty-third day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred and Thirty-four Bargained Sold Transferred and Alleniated And Doth by these presents Bargain Sell Alleniate and Transfer all that Boundaries. [1,000 acres.] piece or parcel of Land known by the name of Werry Courie bounded by the point called Werry Werry Courie on the one side by the Creek called Werry Werry Courie Creek on the other side and by the River Hokianga in the front and by the Inland boundary to five miles distance on the other side Inland Situated in New Zealand aforesaid extending in Land five miles Together with all Timber, Waters, Watercourses, Rivers, Streams, Inlets rights of ways Bays and every other property appertaining thereto Unto John Anderson of the River Hokianga aforesaid Sawyer and Boat builder Receipt. His Heirs Assigns and administrators for Ever For Two Blankets and fifty pounds of Powder the receipt whereof I hereby duly acknowledge As Witness whereof I the said Tounue have Set my hand and Seal the day of the year first within written.
Tounue x his mark. l.s. John Anderson x his mark. l.s. Aurudu x his mark.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the presence of— J. S. Odeland. G. P. Hagger.
Susan’s mother, Te Ruhi Taonui was the daughter of Makoare Te Taonui (1790-1862), Chief of the Te Popoto tribe (Hapu) part of the Ngapuhi federation, Hokianga. (This same Hapu is claimed to be part of the Ngati Whatua federation). By 1840 Makoare Te Taonui was amoungst influential chiefs in Hokianga based in Waima.
Taonui met Anglican missionary Samuel Marsden in 1819 and later visited Sydney. He, along with other northern chiefs, signed an 1831 letter to King William IV, requesting protection from the French. In 1835 he signed the Declaration of Independence
Makoare Te Taonui was described as a chief who acted for himself and his tribe. He was closely involved in the timber trade at Te Horeke, which was established within his tribal territory. He oversaw all the cutting, measuring, sawing and selling for his Hapu, and was said to be able to calculate the dimensions of a spar at a glance.
He also ran a retail store for the sale of European goods, and becomes one of the most powerful figures on the river.
In 1831 Makoare Te Taonui’s signature along with other chief’s and missionaries appears on a petition to William IV asking him to exert some control of his troublesome New Zealand subjects.
He had witnessed unfair British treatment of Australian aborigines. He said,
“We are glad to see the Governor; let him come to be a Governor to the Pakeha. As for us, we want no Governor. How do the Pakeha behave to the black fellows of Port Jackson? They treat them like dogs….the land is our father; the land is our Chieftainship we will not give it up…”
Taonui is recorded as having spoken strongly against the Treaty of Waitangi:
We are not … willing to give up our land. It is from the earth we obtain all things. The land is our Father; the land is our chieftainship; we will not give it up.’
And later in the debate:
‘”Ha, ha, ha, this is the way you do,” cried Taonui. “First your Queen sends Missionaries to New Zealand to put things in order, gives them £200 a year. Then she sends Mr. Busby to put up a flag, and gives him £500 a year, and £200 to give to us natives. Now she sends a Governor.”
“Speak your own sentiments, not what bad men have told you,” retorted Captain Hobson.
“I do,” replied Taonui. “I have not been to Port Jackson, but I know Governors have salaries.”’
Later, after a confrontation between Governor William Hobson and Frederick Maning (a trader who lived in Hokianga), Taonui softened his stance.
“Lo, now for the first time my heart has come near to your thoughts. I approach you with my whole heart. You must watch over my children; let them sit under your protection. There is my land too; you must take care of it, but I do not wish to sell it. What of the land that is sold? Can my children sit down on it? Can they—eh?”
He however was the first chief in the Hokianga on 12 February 1840 who did signed the Treaty of Waitangi when it came to Mangunga, but with great doubts. (His signature appears on the very right column and is third from the top).
Te Taonui later fought against Heke in the Northern Wars, and post war undertook to watch over Hokianga reflecting apprehension of continued unrest in the area.
From “An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand” 1966;
Samuel Marsden met Te Taonui at Utakura in September 1819 and pronounced him “a very well informed man”. The following March, when the missionary again visited Hokianga, Te Taonui accompanied him back to the Bay of Islands, returning to Hokianga aboard HMS Dromedary. At their first meeting he had asked Marsden to send a missionary to Hokianga; but when Wesleyan missionaries made it their headquarters Te Taonui remained aloof, for it was not European religion that attracted him, but European trade.
A shipyard and timber depot had been established at Te Horeke in late 1826 under the protection of Muriwai, Patuone, and Nene. When Muriwai died in early 1828, Te Taonui, who was his younger brother, succeeded to the leadership of the Popoto tribe, and later visited Sydney, possibly working his passage in the brig Governor Macquarie, Captain Kent.
In the next decade Te Taonui was intimately involved in McDonnell’s stormy career. In 1836 he abetted, perhaps even inspired, the Additional British Resident’s extravagant Kaipara claims and his extensive Hokianga purchases, one of the unwilling sellers claiming in later years that at the time of the purchases Te Taonui had been all powerful on the Hokianga. By denying Thierry’s claim to Utakura in November 1837, Te Taonui was defending McDonnell’s interests as well as his own; and the following month he further strengthened McDonnell’s hand by thwarting White’s plans to deport his rival to Hobart. The former missionary offered him £200 to take the ex-Additional British Resident prisoner; but Te Taonui refused the bribe, no doubt after shrewdly weighing the pros and cons, for he was said to know well the value of money. In 1839 S. McD. Martin described Te Taonui as “a chief of considerable influence, and an extensive dealer in spars and timber, the dimensions of which he can calculate with much precision”.
By their timely arrival and welcoming speeches at the first treaty meeting at Waitangi on 5–6 February 1840, his fellow Hokianga chiefs Nene and Patuone won for themselves the accolade of official favour. Te Taonui’s outspokenness at the Hokianga treaty meeting a week later probably cost him a similar place in the sun. He was the first to sign the treaty at Hokianga; but in the day-long discussion which preceded the signing he was openly critical of British intentions.
Throughout the war against Hone Heke Te Taonui and his tribe fought with distinction, his brother Te Huru being killed and his son Aperahama very severely wounded. But when British troops were sent against Heke it was Nene who went to Kororareka to welcome them, Te Taonui being left at Lake Omapere to contain the rebels. And when the first distribution of supplies to the Maori allies was authorised, it was to Nene they were given, although Te Taonui had asked for ammunition to be sent to him and had, at that time, more men in the field than Nene.
If the Popoto chief had withdrawn his men from the fighting (as Maning says he threatened to do), this error of judgment in regarding Nene as the overall leader of the Maori allies could have cost the Government dear. In the Ruapekapeka campaign Governor Grey gave Te Taonui an independent command, and he was sent to Hikurangi with a contingent of 400 men in an attempt to prevent Heke from joining forces with Kawiti.
After the war the Popoto chief accused Grey of passing him by, an accusation which, on the evidence available, seems justified. And he kept on insisting that Heke was not to be trusted. It was not until September 1848, six months after the Governor and the rebel leader had met amicably at Waimate, that Te Taonui also met Heke and, one assumes, made peace with him.
By his own people Te Taonui is remembered as Makoare (Macquarie), a name no doubt associated with his visit to Sydney (about 1830-1831). He died in September 1862, probably in his early seventies. It could as truthfully be said of him, as was later said of Nene on the Government monument erected to his memory, that he was “Te Hoa Tuturu o te Pakeha”. Makoare Taonui was indeed the steadfast friend of the Pakeha; but the friend who is quick to criticise is not always remembered with gratitude.