Story: Mau rākau – Māori use of weaponry

Two-handed weapons: taiaha (1st of 3)

Two-handed weapons: taiaha

This impressive taiaha dates from about 1800. Its origins are unknown, but it is a fine example of this long two-handed weapon. The pointed end is carved in the shape of a head and is therefore termed the upoko. The protruding arero (tongue) provides the jabbing implement. Below the upoko is a tauri (collar) made of bird feathers and dog hair. The opposite end of the taiaha has a flat, smooth blade called a rau.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: WE000284

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Rangi Matamua, 'Mau rākau – Māori use of weaponry - Using traditional weapons', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/39757/two-handed-weapons-taiaha (accessed 12 December 2019)

Story by Rangi Matamua, published 5 Sep 2013