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Maori were experts at ambushing their enemy and all warriors were extremely deft at the use of and the carving of these Maori weapons. They were adept at appearing and disappearing into the thick New zealand forest. On visits to New Zealand many cultural shows display in depth how these weapons were originally used. They can be fascinating to watch as the traditional clothing is worn and many Maori who demonstrate these weapons have learned their skills from generations of there own family (or whanau) which makes the whole experience very authentic.Traditionally they were made of wood, bone, or stone and crafted of three basic shapes. The carvings below are the Patu or Mere, the sickle shaped Wahaika and the violin shaped Kotiate. All were used in short thrusting jabs rather than downward blows which would be to slow in combat. Great New Zealand Souvenirs & Gifts.
These Weapons were made of wood, bone, stone and greenstone. They were used where quick in-fighting action required thrusting jabs and were held by a thong of dog skin through a hole in the handle and around the wrist and thumb. The below Wahaika can have a name or similar engraved on the base for an extra $30.00 NZD. When selecting the add to basket button simply select from the drop down "plus engraving".
Patu or Mere
Warriors using these weapons in battle relied heavily on quick footwork and agility. Typical strike zones for warriors included the temple, the jaw and the ribs. In each case the leading edge of the weapon was used, rather than a downward clubbing action. A secondary development was the introduction of a hole to accommodate the wrist chord, which became necessary to stop blood or sweat drenched hand slipping up the weapon during the thrust. Also The Kotiate were prized weapons on the battlefield, as well as being favored by many chiefs during speech making. According to popular tradition, these notches were used to entwine the intestines and other organs of the vanquished enemy. (Kotiate means' to cut liver')
Full Size Taiaha
The Taiaha sent may differ slightly from the photograph as each one is carved by hand and differences are inevitable.
The spear shaped Taiaha is the best known of the Maori weapons. It varies considerably in length from 1.2 to 1.9 meters. It can be described best in three sections. The first, Rau or long striking blade usually between 6 and 7cm wide. Second is the shaft which is oval in cross section. Last is the Proximal end, with an arero or tongue extending out from the mouth in the Maori gesture of defiance. The arero formed the extreme end of the weapon. When advancing to engage an opponent a warrior often assumed a guard, with the Taiaha held either vertically or slightly diagonally across the body, the blade uppermost and the arero facing the ground. During fighting, feints and passes were constantly employed, and experienced fighters continually repositioned themselves hoping to detect an opening for a strike. All the while guarding themselves against an attack. A favored ploy was to feint an attack on an enemy's torso or face with the tongue end of the Taiaha, then when the opponent recoiled, reverse arms and strike at the top of his skull with the edge of the Rau. Such a blow could cave in the top of a skull and kill instantly. I have made the blow up photos of these Taiaha's large so that you can use the scroll bar at the bottom of the picture to scroll along the length of the Taiaha. Depending on your operating system you may have to prevent Windows from fitting the whole picture into one window by clicking on the full size "ball" that appears when you hover over the picture.
The below Taiaha will only be sent within New Zealand as its length exceeds NZ Posts maximum allowance.