Maori Weapons Meanings and uses
The spear shaped Taiaha is the best known of the Maori weapons. Here in the store it is regularly mistaken for a spear. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Taiaha was never made for throwing.
The Wahaika was a short weapon used for close quarter fighting only, with thrusts and jabs. It is believed the small ridge on the blade side was to trap the opponents weapon thereby disarming him. They were held at the end by a thong of dogs skin looped through the handle and securely around the hand.
The Kotiate were prized weapons on the battlefield, as well as being favored by many chiefs during speech making. The Kotiate is an unusual weapon, but very unique and very dangerous. It has two deep notches on either side. It was traditionally made from wood or stone. In combat a warrior would thrust it into the abdomen of his adversary and twist it. The notches on either side would become entangled in the intestines and as it was removed the damage would almost always be fatal.
This was a long handled club weapon with a heavy axe like blade at one end. Like the Taiaha it was not used as expected. It was used to parry and thrust until a solid blow could disable the opponent. Then it would be used like an axe to kill the enemy. Today the Tewha Tewha is used formal ceremonies only.
Patu / Mere
Patu's or Mere's were made from Bone, stone or wood. 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. The more prestigious patu's were made from greenstone. These were usually called Mere's.