(died 1860) Maori leader. Widely respected for his chiefly status, learning, and warrior prowess, Potatau was chosen in 1858 by Waikato and central North Island tribes as their first king in the hope of uniting all the Maori tribes. Potatau supported the Kingitanga's moves to resist land selling and to secure recognition from the government of rangatiratanga (chieftainly authority). Up to his death he tried to avoid involving the Kingitanga directly in the Taranaki war, which broke out in 1860. Potatau's lineal descendants still head the Kingitanga.
From A Dictionary of World History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: World History.