Rangi Topeora, of Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Raukawa, was born at Kawhia early in the nineteenth century. Her hapū (sub-tribe) were Ngāti Kimihia and Ngāti Te Maunu. She was a niece of the great Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha, and a sister of the formidable warrior Te Rangihaeata. As a young woman she was a famous composer of waiata, and many of her songs are still sung today. In the early 1820s she migrated south to Kapiti Island and adjacent mainland districts with her people, to escape the growing conflict with other Waikato tribes. Her actions during this turbulent migration, and once her people arrived in the south, marked her as a leader and a woman of great strength.
In May 1840 the missionary Henry Williams brought the Treaty of Waitangi to Kapiti Island. Rangi Topeora was one of an estimated five to thirteen women to sign the Treaty. When her brother Te Rangihaeata became involved in armed conflict with British troops and settlers in 1846 she became an opponent of the government. She remained an important figure among her people and a notable orator. Later she was reconciled to European settlement.
When Bishop Selwyn baptised her at Ōtaki she insisted on taking the name Kuini Wikitoria (Queen Victoria), and her husband was named Albert, after Prince Albert, the Queen's husband. She was later commonly known as the "Queen of the South".
Rangi Topeora died some time between 1865 and 1873 at Otaki. Her son, Mātene Te Whiwhi, took a leading role in the establishment of the King Movement during the 1850s.
I whānau mai a Rangi Topeora ki Kāwhia i te tōmuatanga o te rautau rua tekau. Ko ōna hapū ko Ngāti Kimihia, ko Ngāti Te Maunu; ko Ngāti Toa, ko Te Āti Awa ōna iwi. Hei irāmutu a ia mā Te Rauparaha, rangatira o Ngāti Toa, hei tuahine hoki mā te toa rā a Te Rangihaeata. He wahine rongonui a Rangi Topeora mō te tito waiata, ā, kei te waiatatia tonutia ētahi i ēnei rā. I te tekau tau atu i 1820, i runga i ngā riri ki ērā o ngā iwi o Waikato, ka heke a Rangi Topeora rātou ko tōna iwi ki te rohe o Kapiti noho ai. Ka puta tōna rangatiratanga, tōna kaha i te wā o te heke, i te taunga hoki ki Kapiti.
I te tau 1840 ka mauria e Te Karuwhā te Tiriti o Waitangi ki Kapiti. Ko Rangi Topeora tētahi o ngā wāhine e 5-13 ka haina i te Tiriti. I te tau 1846 ka pakanga a Te Rangihaeata ki ngā hōia o Peretānia, ka tautokona ia e tana tuahine. He wahine whai mana a Rangi Topeora, he pū kōrero. Kia hipa te wā, ka rata a ia ki te noho mai a te Pākehā.
Nā te pīhopa nā Te Herewini (Bishop Selwyn) a ia i iriiri ki Ōtaki. Ka tangohia e Rangi Topeora te ingoa o Kuini Wikitōria hei ingoa tāpiri mōna, ka huri te ingoa o tana tāne ki Arapeta, te tāne a te Kuini. Whāia, ka utaina ki runga ki a ia te ingoa te ‘Kuini o te Tonga’.
Nō te takiwā o ngā tau 1865 ki 1873 i mate ai a Rangi Topeora ki Ōtaki. Hei tōna wā ka whai wāhi nui tana tama a Mātene Te Whiwhi ki te whakatūnga o te Kīngitanga i te tekau tau atu i 1850.