Hoera Taonui

Hoera Taonui was a prominent Ngaati Wairere chief (between 1830 - 1863) and is known to be the last Ngaati Wairere chief to live at Kirikiriroa paa. Significantly, in 1856 , he was chosen as one of 82 chiefs to take part in the Ruunanga (gathering of chiefs) to elect the very first Maaori King at Puukawa, in Taupoo. Thus, he was part of the broader Kiingitanga movement, which was primarily established to unify Maaori in an effort to oppose and prevent Maaori land confiscation by European settlers.

In 1863, Hoera joined the fight against the advancing English army during the Waikato Invasions. It is presumed that he died fighting during the battle of Rangiriri in 1863, as this was the last reported sighting of him.

There is little known about the early life of Hoera Taonui but, importantly, he is known to have converted to Christianity in the 1840s and it is believed that he was responsible for the conversion of many within the Ngaati Wairere hapuu. Hoera gave his blessing for the first Christian church to be constructed within Kirikiriroa paa. This was named Tohikiterangi.