Hōne Heke (? - 1850)
Where can I find information about Hōne Heke?
Entry last updated: 28/04/22
Hōne Heke (Hōne Wiremu Heke Pōkai) was a Māori leader from the Ngāpuhi tribe, born in the early 1800s in the far north of New Zealand Aotearoa. He was known for his political involvement leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and later the chopping down of the flagpole at Kororāreka (now called Russell).
Although he was an important figure in New Zealand history, there isn't much information available about Hōne Heke. These websites are some of the best online places to find information about his story.
This is a great website for information about the history of New Zealand Aotearoa. If you scroll all the way down the page you can see that it belongs to Manatū Taonga - the Ministry for Culture & Heritage .
- Type 'Hōne Heke' into the search bar to find a brief biography on Hōne Heke.
- Other resources from NZHistory that are useful to explore for this topic include a Timeline of Treaty Events (including what led to the flagpole being chopped down) and articles on The Northern War.
Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Te Ara is another excellent starting point for all sorts of questions about New Zealand Aotearoa.
- For in-depth information on Hōne Heke's life, choose the Biographies tab on the main page.
- Then, select H and scroll down to find Hōne Heke's biography.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.
New Zealand Electronic Text Collection
Victoria University of Wellington looks after this website which has information on early New Zealand history.
- Enter 'Hōne Wiremu Heke Pōkai' into the search bar
- Read Extracts from a Diary during Heke's War in the North in 1845.
- Look down the page for other stories that Hōne Heke is mentioned in.
- See drawings and sketches in the Image Gallery.
Owned by the Te Ruapekapeka Trust and the Department of Conservation (DOC), this site had some useful information on Hōne Heke and his involvement in the battle of Ruapekapeke, one of the battles of the Northern Wars fought between the British and Māori.
- Scroll down the page to Cast of Characters.
- Select Hōne Heke to read about this Ngāpuhi warrior chief.
Images and documentaries
There are not many pictures or images of Hōne Heke available because he lived a long time ago, but here are some good places to look. There are also some documentaries that include stories and information about Hōne Heke's life.
DigitalNZ is a good place to search for images because it links to several of the most important museums, libraries and art galleries in New Zealand.
- Make sure that you enter his full name into the search box (Hone Wiremu Heke Pokai) as there is a relation with a very similar name who became a politician in later years.
- One interesting image is the drawing of Owharawai Pa of Hone Heke.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on this website. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.
The site has a short video about one of the Māori fortifications that played a role in the Northern War, you can watch it here: Ruapekapeka - roadside stories.
NZOnScreen has New Zealand film and television videos from the past, right up to the present day.
- Search for 'Hōne Heke'.
- Watch the TV series The New Zealand Wars. This TV series is about the armed conflict between Māori and Europeans from the time of the Treaty of Waitangi, and includes stories about Hōne Heke,
- Find other documentaries that mention Hōne Heke.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the Our story link on this website. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
There aren't many books written specifically about Hōne Heke but you might be able to borrow these titles through your school or local public library:
- New Zealand's first war, or, The rebellion of Hone Heke by Thomas Lindsay Buick
- Hōne Heke : Ngā Puhi warrior by Paul Moon
- Hōne Heke's war by John Robinson
- Alan Duff's Māori heroes by Alan Duff.
Another option is to look for books on the New Zealand Wars in general, for example:
- Landscapes of conflict: a field guide to the New Zealand Wars by Nigel Prickett.
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