Rewa was the Ngai Tāwake hapū of Ngāpuhi, the son of the Rangitira Te Maoi and his wife, Te Auparo.
His father and two of his brorthers were killed in 1807 at the battle of Moremonui between Ngāpuhi (northern regional tribes) and Ngāti Whatua ( Auckland regional tribes).
Not long after, Rewa’s mother and sister, Te Karehu were also killed, in a Ngare Raumati attack on Waimate.
Rewa and his descendants later took the name of Te Patukeha (The Turnip Killing), to remember his mothers death in the garden.
Rewa had two wives, Te Koki, a cousin of the chief Tītore, and a second wife, brought back from battle, who committed suicide in 1823 after giving birth to a son.
Rewa’s rank as a major chief became evident in his early association with Hongi Hika, who by 1815 was the undisputed senior leader of the Ngāpuhi hapū Ngai Tāwake and Ngāti Tautahi.
Rewa took part in the Ngāpuhi attacks on tribes in the south over a period of 10 years, from around 1818.
Koropiro Pā was the major gathering place for the departure of hundreds of warriors and laden canoes.
The spiral of war, trade and more war reached a peak in the mid 1820′s, as the tribes to the south engaged in efforts to equip themselve’s with the new weaponry.
In 1823 -1824, Hongi’s blind wife, Turikātuku, escorted Matire Toha, Rewa’s daughter to Manukau harbour to marry Kati Takiwaru, younger brother to the Maori King, Te Potatau. The marriage was part of Ngāpuhi’s peace making alliance with Waikato after the tribes defeat in the battle of Matakitaki in May 1822.
Both Matire Toha and Kati had been mission students at Kerikeri.
When Hongi shifted to Whangaroa in 1826, Rewa was recognized as one of the most powerful chiefs of the Northern alliance of Ngāpuhi and the Bay of Islands.
Rewa died on 1st September 1862, and is buried at Paripai urupa (cemetery) at Mataraua.