Ngāpuhi chief Hōne Heke was an influential northern Māori voice in favour of the Treaty of Waitangi. However, he later became a leading opponent of British rule in New Zealand. Heke, a Christian, had a close relationship with missionary Henry Williams, and, at the signing of the Treaty in 1840, he believed Williams' assurances that the authority of Māori chiefs would be protected.
'Governor,' he told Hobson, 'you should stay with us and be like a father. If you go away, then the French and the rum sellers will take us Māori over.' The following day, he was the first of more than 40 northern chiefs to sign (although his signature is fourth, those of more senior chiefs having later been inserted ahead of his).
Four years later, disillusioned by the failure of colonisation to bring his people economic prosperity and by the increasing control of the British government over Māori affairs, Heke ordered the cutting down of the flagpole at the British settlement of Kororāreka (which had recently been renamed Russell). This was intended to show displeasure at the British government without threatening Pākehā settlers. Over the following months, the flagpole was re-erected and cut down again three times. The final felling, in March 1845, signalled war between British troops and some northern Māori.
Retrieved from: 'Hōne Heke', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/hone-heke, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 8-Apr-2019