Mohi Turei Tangaroapeau

Whānau a Rarewa, Ngāti Porou

1829 - 1914

Mohi Turei was "probably born on Kautuku, the ancestral home of the Ngāti Hokopu.... He was educated at Bishop William Williams’ school at Waerenga-a-Hika, Poverty Bay. All the teaching was imparted in Māori: consequently Mohi knew no English, although with his intellectual ability, he would have been a great scholar if he had known English.... He was ordained deacon in 1864.... He composed hakas, of which two have become classics. During the fifteen years he was confined to his bed, he contributed largely to the Māori journal Te Pipiwharauroa. His masterpiece is undoubtedly his article on the great Ngāti Porou chief, Tuwhakairiora. He wrote also an excellent account of the Tokaakuku campaign in the Bay of Plenty [Te Ao Hou 5 1953]". He "lived at Rangitukia on the East Coast, and died there in 1914 at the age of 85. He wrote a great many stories in Māori, many of them being printed in early Māori magazines.... He wrote ‘The Story of Tuwhakairiora’ which was first published in Māori in the Polynesian Journal in 1911 and was translated into English by Archdeacon Walsh." In 1912 he was a corresponding member of the Polynesian Society of Port Awanui Waiapu. His wife, Mere Awhenga-Te-Rangi Turei Tangaroapeau, died at Waiapu East Coast on 9 January 1876 aged 42.

Biographical sources

  • Te Ao Hou 5 (1953) 53. 10-11.
  • Te Ao Hou 39 (1962): 21.
  • Te Waka Māori O Niu Tirani 12 (1876): 50.


  • "He Kōrero Kauwhau Māori/A Māori Legend." Te Waka Māori o Niu Tirani 12.17 (1876): 201-203.
  • Turei writes that when the Mangarara canoe sailed from Hawaiki various lizards including the tuatara, teretere, kumukumu, mokoparae and the mokokakariki were introduced to Aotearoa along with ‘centipedes, the phasmid (better known as the "walking-stick,") field crickets,wood bugs, and various other reptiles and insects. There were birds, too, on board this canoe - the torea (hoema-topus unicolor), and the whaioio, or whioi (anthus Novoe Zealandiae) - and a dog (or dogs) called "Mohorangi."’ Turei goes on to discuss Chief Wheketoro’s settling of the reptiles and insects on Whangaokeno Island off the East Cape and the placing of a tapu on the island to protect the reptiles and birds. Many years years later Kaiawa, a descendant of Kiwa, decided to lift the tapu off Whangaokeno but lost his daughter Ponuiahine in the process.
  • Te Waka Māori O Niu Tirani 12.3 (1876): 33-35.
  • In this letter, in Māori and English, dated 5 January 1876 and signed Mohi Turei Tangaroapeau of Waiapu, Turei writes a defence of Sir Donald McLean’s contribution to Māoridom.
  • "Tu-Whakairi-Ora." English trans. Archdeacon H. W. Williams. Journal of the Polynesian Society 20 (1911): 17-34. Rpt. in two parts as "Tuwhakairiora." English trans. Archdeacon H. W. Williams. Te Ao Hou 5 (1953): 12-18; 7 (1954): 16-22. Rpt. in English in a slightly modified translation as "The Story of Tuwhakairiora." English trans. Archdeacon P.Walsh. Te Ao Hou 39 (1962): 21+. Rpt. in original Māori text in two installments in Te Ao Hou 40 (Sept. 1962): 49-51; 41 (Dec. 1962): 43+.
  • This account of the life of Tuwhakairiora begins with the story of Poroumata, a descendant of Porourangi and grandfather of Tuwhakairiora, who was treacherously killed by members of his own tribe while on a fishing excursion. Poroumata’s daughter Te Ataakura married Ngātihau and she longed for a child to avenge the death of her father. Tuwhakairiora, her second child was raised in the company of tohungas, excelling in sporting contests and becoming a famous warrior. Ultimately he set out alone to accomplish his mother’s wish and on his way he marries Ruataupare, daughter of Chief Te Aotaki. When Tuwhakairiora informs Te Aotaki of the real purpose of his journey, Te Aotaki raises support for Tuwhakairiora from the pas of Puketapu, Kotare, Te Rangihuanoa, Tarapahure, Totaratawhiti and Okauwharetoa. Selecting battalions from these pas Tuwhakairiora and the warriors attack and rout the people of Paepaenui. Having fulfilled the wishes of his mother, Tuwhakairiora finally settles in Okauwharetoa with Ruataupare.
  • "The History of the ‘Horouta’ Canoe and the Introduction of the Kumara into New Zealand." Writ. Mohi Turei. Dictated by Pita Kapiti. Journal of the Polynesian Society 21 (1912): 152-163. English trans. only.
  • Editorial notes precede and follow this account and state that the text came from a book belonging to Samuel Locke which contained the following inscription: "This book belongs to Mr. Locke, and was written by me, Mohi Turei Tongaroapeau, of Waipu." Locke adds "The matter written in this book was at the dictation of an old Tohunga, Pita Kapiti." Turei writes an account of the coming of the Horouta to New Zealand, which according to the editorial notes ‘differs a good deal from others...notably in Mr. John White’s "Ancient History of the Māori"’.
  • Kohere, R. T. "Rev. Mohi Turei: A Biography." Te Ao Hou 5 (1953): 10-11.
  • Tamahori, J. T. "Mohi Turei." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography Vol. 1 1769-1869. Ed. W. H. Oliver. Wellington, N.Z.: Allen & Unwin/Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1990. 557-556.


  • Taylor, C. H. R. A Bibliography of Publications on the New Zealand Māori and the Moriori of the Chatham Islands. Oxford: Clarendon; Oxford UP, 1972. 81.