Writing Slate; signed by Rongo Hongi; Circa 1830; XKH.3480


Writing Slate; signed by Rongo Hongi

About this object

This writing slate belonged to Rongo Hongi, the daughter of Ngā Puhi leader Hongi Hika and his senior wife Turikatuku. Inscribed with "Na Rongo Hongi 16", Rongo signed the slate in 1830-31 when she was 16 years old, writing her name and age permanently with a nail.

The slate was found under the floorboards of the Kemp House lean-to in 2000 during restoration work. Another slate inscribed with a waiata whakautu (song of reply or riposte) and a child's taiaha were also found at the same time.

Rongo lodged with the Kemp family at the Kerikeri Mission Station after the death of her father in 1828, attending the mission Girls' School where she learnt to read and write. She later married Hone Heke Pokai at the mission chapel in 1837 and was baptised in 1840, taking the name Hariata, a derivation of Charlotte after Charlotte Kemp.

The slate is held by HNZPT at the Kerikeri Mission Station on behalf of Ngā Puhi.

For more information about the Kemp family and Kemp House, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Date Made

Circa 1830

Medium and Materials



210 x 55 x 4.5mm

Object Type

Writing instrument

Object number



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