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  • The Bone Art Place

    Wooden Taiaha, a Maori fighting staff

  • Eddie Jobrack

    The Taiaha (pronounced Tie-uh-ha). is a close quarters combat weapon. This traditional hardwood fighting staff looks like a spear but in fact is not. It was handled with two hands in roughly the same fashion as some weapons used in martial arts. A typical taiaha has a pointed blade at one end a flattened edge at the other.The pointed end commonly is adorned with wood carving. In many cases a carved head, with paua shell eyes and an extended, defiant tongue made of greenstone jade.

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Before the Europeans set foot in New Zealand warfare between Maori tribes was commonplace. From a young age male members of Maori tribes were educated in warfare and combat tactics. Later on the British colonial troops would find out how fierce and powerful these experts in guerilla warfare were. Typical Maori weapons are the maripu, patu and taiaha. On the photo a taiaha with greenstone jade spear point resembling the ever reoccurring tongue. This taiaha has a wood carving on the base.

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