Rewi Manga Maniapoto was born in early in the nineteenth century, to the Ngati Paretekawa hapu of Ngati Maniapoto. Different sources put his birth date between 1807 and around 1815. He was descended directly from Maniapoto, his founding tribal ancestor. His father was Te Ngohi, also known as Kawhia, of Ngati Maniapoto. His mother was Te Kore, of Ngati Maniapoto.
He was educated at Wesleyan mission station, Te Kopua. He would later become widely respected for his knowledge, oratory and leadership skills, as well as military acumen. He communicated and negotiated with Pakeha, even offering protection to local missionary John Morgan for around 20 years.
He was a leader in the Waikato war of 1863-64 during which he fought bravely against impossible odds. He was based around Kihikihi and Otawhao (Te Awamutu). In 1864 he declared at Orakau:
"Ka whawhai tonu matou, Ake! Ake! Ake!" (We will fight on for ever and ever!)
A monument honouring Rewi was unveiled at Kihikihi in April 1894. He died two months later, and after a great tangi, he was buried on June 29 at the foot of his memorial.
Rewi Maniapoto was inducted into the Te Awamutu Walk of fame in 2005.
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