Hōne Heke (? - 1850)

Where can I find information about Hōne Heke?

Image: HekeKawiti1846 by Joseph Jenner Merrett on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 14/01/21


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).

General websites

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 'Hone 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 sorts of questions about New Zealand Aotearoa.

  • For in-depth information on Hōne Heke's life, click 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.

Manatū Taonga - Ministry for Culture & Heritage

This site has some interesting history articles that give background about what Hōne Heke did. Use the keywords 'Hone Heke' in the search box to bring up relevant articles, like History-making meeting held at Te Waimate Mission.

Tauranga Memories

There is some useful information about Hōne Heke on this local history website; the site is also worth exploring for more local information about what he did.

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 Hōne Heke's Ōhaeawai pa.
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 the website, if you can find one. 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.

New Zealand Wars (NZONSCREEN)

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. It is available on DVD from some New Zealand libraries - ask your school or local librarian for help to find and borrow it.

You can also search the NZONSCREEN website for 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 About us link on the website, if you can find one. 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 this title through the school or local public library:

Another option is to look for books on the New Zealand Wars in general, for example:

SCIS no: 1951891
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