The Ngāpuhi rangatira Hongi Hika became a pivotal figure in New Zealand history. He was a skilled and driven leader in war and trade, and his actions had far-reaching consequences.
Ngāpuhi and rival iwi Ngāti Whātua fought in 1807 or 1808. Ngāpuhi were decisively beaten, and their war leader Pokaia was killed, as were two of Hongi Hika’s brothers. Hongi succeeded Pokaia, and thereafter was determined to avenge the Ngāpuhi losses.