Te Pēhi Kupe

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Te Pēhi Kupe (c. 1795–1828) was a Māori rangatira and war leader of Ngāti Toa and the uncle of Te Rauparaha.[1] He took a leading part in what became known as the Musket Wars.

He led the force that captured Kapiti Island for Ngāti Toa, then in 1824 managed to brazenly force passage on a ship to England[2] where he was presented to George IV, learned to ride, recorded his moko[3] and had his portrait painted.[4]

On his return journey he sold the various presents he'd received in Sydney to purchase arms and ammunition, and was soon part of fellow Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha's 1828 raids on the South Island. After sacking the at Kaikoura and Omihi they went further south to the major Ngāi Tahu pā at Kaiapoi, where they wished to trade.

Learning that Te Rauparaha intended to attack them in the morning,[5] and being aware of the attacks on their people at Kaikoura, the Kaiapoi people attacked the Ngati Toa. Te Pēhi was one of three Ngāti Toa chiefs killed as they slept overnight there,[5] and this incident led to the revenge raids by Te Rauparaha in 1830 with the capture of Tamaiharanui from Akaroa[6] and the three-month successful siege of Kaiapoi[7][8] and sacking of Onawe the next year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Te Rauparaha's Feats", Te Ara
  2. ^ "...and then he gave me to understand that he would stay on board, and go to Europe, and see King George...", 1825, (letter from Captain Reynolds to Earl Bathurst)
  3. ^ "...The portrait of his moko was drawn by him without the aid of a mirror...", 1896, "Moko; or Maori Tattooing", Major-General Robley
  4. ^ Portrait of Te Pehi Kupe, with full tattoo on face and wearing European clothes
  5. ^ a b "Ngāi Tahu: Wars with Ngāti Toa", Te Ara
  6. ^ Elizabeth, Incident of Brig, An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966
  7. ^ "...The siege lasted for three months..." Archived 2010-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Kaiapoi, Christchurch City Libraries