Maori Weapons

Two Maori warriors battling with Taiahas
Maori Warriors with Taiahas
Wars between Maori tribes were commonplace. Fighting usually took place over territory. Maori warriors were fierce in battle and the fate of their enemies, when captured, usually involved being eaten or having their heads shrunk as trophies. On this page are a list of a few facts about the weapons used by Maori warriors. This information includes what weapons they used and how they used them; followed be short descriptions of some of the most common weapons.
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Maori Weapon Facts

Common Maori Weapons

Below you will find a list of a few of the more common Maori weapons; with short descriptions and pictures.


Maori Patu Weapon Patau
This weapon is a short club used as a striking weapon. The English translation of patu is to strike or hit. Patu were made of wood, stone, or whale bone. The general strategy of using this weapon was to hit the opponents upper body thus disabling them and then finishing them off with a strike to the head.


Maori Mere Weapon Mere
A Mere is a short flat club shaped like a large tear drop. It is the same design as a Patu; but the difference is Patus are made of wood, stone, or whale bone whereas Meres are made of Greenstone (jade). This weapon was held in one hand and was used in close hand to hand combat. Typical strike zones for warriors included the temple, the jaw or the ribs. The mere was a highly prized weapon as it requires an incredible amount of work to make. They were often passed on from one generation to the next. Warriors who carried a greenstone mere were considered to possess great strength and honor.


Maori Wahaika Weapon Wahaika
This weapon was a short club used in hand-to-hand combat. It was usually made of whalebone or wood. The warrior would thrust the weapon at the enemy. A notch on the side was used for catching an opponent's weapon. With a quick flick and twist of the wrist, the opponent could be disarmed. The word Wahaika can be roughly translated to "the mouth of the fish". Wooden Wahaikas often had intricate designs carved on them.


Maori Taiaha Weapon Taiaha
One of the most well-known weapons of the Maori due to its use during welcoming ceremonies known as powhiri. A long club typically about five to six feet (1.5 - 1.8 meters) in length. This weapon, usually made of whalebone or wood, was used for short quick stabbing thrusts and for defense; to parry thrust from an enemy's weapon. Although it looks like a spear it was never used for throwing at an enemy.


Maori Kotiate Weapon Kotiate
This short club was a thrusting weapon used in close hand-to-hand combat. It was usually made of whalebone or wood. Its name means to cut or divide the liver most likely named for its resemblance to the lobed part of a human liver. Maori chiefs often held this weapon while giving speeches.
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