The Supreme Field Commander of the Waikato War was Manga (Rewi) Maniapoto. A stauch supporter of the kaupapa of the Kiinigtanga he often disagreed with the Kings advisors and policies. He was nevertheless a very capable, well trained and experienced field commander. Manga was from both Maniapoto and Raukawa stock. His father Kaawhia or Te Ngohi signed the treaty of Waitangi and was a formiddable and experienced warrior. Manga was educated by Rev Morgan at the Te Kopua Mission Station. He was of Ngaati Paretekawa stock and his grandfather Te Akanui was the tuakana of Peehi Tukorehu. Manga had no direct blood issue but he and his wife adopted many children. Te Raore younger brother to Manga died at an early age and had no issue, the only other nearerst blood sibling Manga had was his sister Ripeka Te Whakahae who married Hughes and had a half caste daughter named Rihi. Her descendants include the Muraahi, Waho and Mokau group of whaanau of Ngaati Paretekawa (Mangatoatoa Marae Kihikihi and Napinapi Marae, Piopio).
Other leading and very capable commanders at the defence of Orakau include;
- Te Paerata and his children (Hone Teri, Hitiri and Ahumai) of Ngaati Te Kohera Raukawa nd Tuwharetoa
- Hauraki Tonganui
- Te Waru Tamatea
- Raharuhi Rukupo
- Piripi Te Heuheu