Collection of Taiaha

Collection of Taiaha,
19th century
Attribution unknown
Wood
:T1.3.2007.22, :A1273, :A1268, :RH81, :811.65.29, :T23.12.2004.10, :T23.12.2004.11

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Collection of Taiaha,

The taiaha is one of the most iconic of all the Māori weapons and it originated when Tūmatauenga, the atua (god) of war was locked in a stalemate during the heat of a battle. He came across his relation Rūrūtangiākau who then gifted Tūmatauenga his son, Akerautangi, as a weapon. He had two faces, two sets of eyes and ears, two noses, two mouths and two protruding tongues—to see, hear, smell, taste and sense in all directions. Tūmatauenga returned to battle with Akerautangi in the form of the taiaha and was victorious.

The taiaha is a staff made from either wood or whalebone, and used for short, sharp strikes or stabbing thrusts at close contact, requiring efficient footwork on the part of the wielder. The taiaha is only used by high-ranking warriors as it requires skill, speed, and agility. Its primary use is self-defence.

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