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Maori MA

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  • Maori MA

    I looked on the forum for some infos on Maori MA but I found very little.
    I would like to know if there is someone here who has good information
    about armed and unarmed Maori MA. I only saw little of it in the movie
    'Once were warriors' (great movie, by the way).
    Thanks for any info about it.

  • #2
    I too found much interest in the Maori lifestyle and warrior arts after seeing "Once Were Warriors" but have found limited resources in terms of the Maori Stickfighting art of Taiaha. I know it was not only used as a means of self-defense but for performing and ceremonial rituals. Here are 2 links that may interest you:

    New Zealand Society (UK). Home, News, History, Membership, Committee, Charitable Grant, Kiwi Calendar, Spotlight, 100 Waka Campaign, Waitangi Day '23 Sponsors, UK NZ'er of the Year Award and Leave a Legacy

    I am also very fond of the TaMoko, the art of skin carving.

    Good luck in your research and please post further information you find.



    • #3
      johnj, thank you for the links.


      • #4
        This info is taken out of "New Zealand Martial arts Magazine Feb-March 1997 issue not quiet sure who the writer was ,but im presuming it was Paora Sharples. So here goes...part 1
        History of- Te Whare Tu Taua O Aotearoa Inc

        The origins of Te Whare Tu Taua O Aotearoa Inc .(formally known as -Te Runanga Tu Taua Mau Taiaha O Aotearoa Inc .) Can be traced back to 1983 with the New Zealand Polynesian festival ,which was hosted by the Ngati Kahungunu people in Hastings .after much debate ,Pita Shaples was chosen to co-ordinate the Powhiri (welcoming ceremony )which involved the training of over 1000 people from Gisborne right through to Wellington in the use of the Taiaha (long club ).
        The Powhiri of that festival was at that time , the largest ever performed in modern times . As a result of its outstanding success, the need arose for an organization to be established to meet the growing interest of Maori in the ways of their culture .
        While it may appear to some as being something of a recent phenomenon ,the creation of the Whare Tu Taua O Aotearoa could be more accurately described as re-affirmation of Maori spiritual and culture knowledge from the past that is characteristic of modern renaissance.
        The teachings of the Whare Tu Taua go right back to ‘the old days ‘ of pre-European , to a time when only Maori inhabited Aotearoa . To a time when Maori lived in tribal groupings (whanau ,hapu and iwi ) living in a constant flux of warfare . Where Whare Tu Taua teachings concentrate on training methods ,moves and techniques utilized by ancestors to kill and survive in that era .
        With the arrival and encroachment of the pakeha (white man ) in Aotearoa and the subsequent decline of Maori culture through integration ,a rapidly declining number of selected people become custodians of weapon use , techniques and moves of attack and defense of the old days ,during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries .
        Only recently during this period of culture revival (the last 20-30 years )has there been such an unprecedented demand for ,not only Maori weaponry , but teachings of all facets of Maori culture.
        By associating this knowledge with a martial arts perspective , it is hoped that this , along with traditional viewpoints of history and heritage ,will be revisited and kept alive through the years to come .
        part 2

        Te Kaupapa O - Te Whare Tu Taua O Aotearoa Inc

        A key element ,not just of the Whare Tu Taua but everyday life, is
        ‘kaupapa ‘ for which there is no literal pakeha translation . Kaupapa is more than just content or plan , the simple reason being - it is everything that exist with a spiritual base. Kaupapa is an important focal point for the spiritual aspects of the Whare Tu Taua which can be traced back to Hore Hore Pa site at Takapau where the organization originated and first began at Rakau Tatahi Marae in Hawes bay , and where all students are expected to visit at some stage during there instruction . The head office of Te Whare TU Taua O Aotearoa Inc. can be located at Hoani Waititi Marae , Waitakere City ,Auckland
        Currently there are an excess of 2000 members under the guidance of the organization spread all over the country side , from various tribal groups with varying backgrounds which gives a good indication of the growing significance of its instruction .Membership is open to everyone and does not exclude anyone .All that is required is a desire to learn.
        As Tumu Whakarae (Sacerdotal Head ) Master & founder of the Whare Tu Taua O Aotearoa ,Pita Sharples
        Has been invested with the knowledge and ability to determine the kaupapa of his students and is the sole adjucator for the higher grading of the higher levels along with assistance from the current Taura Tu Taua students ( pouwhitu ),and most recently graduated and highest ranked students
        Taura Pouwhakarae ( pouwaru ).

        A student begins as an ‘Akonga” and progresses through various stages. At each level ,titles are earned by virtue of progression . Each stage that is studied is also broken down in a series of categories ,all of equal significance and all of which must be mastered before progression to a higher level.
        When examining the sectional content of each stage ,it becomes obvious that the scope of the runanga is far broader than simply the physical content alone .for every discipline and technique that must be attained with each stage , there is a certain degree of knowledge and understanding of what these requirements mean.
        A student that has reached the top four levels ,is also required to attain one of seven FIGHTING TITLES .
        These are combat titles and are attained through inter- competition within the Whare Tu Taua , where students fight one another undergoing a variety of fight situations and environments testing a number of attributes and skills including endurance ,speed , agility , reaction and stamina and also knowledge of relevant attack and defense and counter attack ,moves multiple attacks ectect .This in every grade students are taught to protect themselves instinctively and with a tremendous degree of fluency .once a title is earned it is held for life.

        These titles in order of achievement are -
        Te Tama-a-Tu
        Rakau Kawa Nui
        Rakau Kawa
        Pakoko Tawhito


        • #5
          This also I found on another forum,that may help
          Mau rakau
          Well there's much to tell, it would be even better if you were able to attend an event and see for yourself, nothing quite like the real thing, however I know in this case its not feasible.

          Well we use a stick (rakau) with a height from ground to chin. Both ends of the stick is padded for protection against the blow. We use cricket gloves to protect our knuckles. The stick is our main weapon, however we invariably use our fist and legs as well.

          Level 1 (Poutahi), we consider the most important level. It is the foundation for setting up our fight structure. We learn how to jump and maneuver our feet (considered very important to the fight), balance is certainly the key here. We also learn how to block and strike with the stick and yes we do start fighting right from the very first level. We must learn the parts of the taiaha and what each part plays in the fight. The 3 main parts to the taiaha - head, body and tail (translated: whakarehu, tinana, ate). The head is the pointed end used in a stabbing like motion, the tail is a wider flatter end use for gouging and sometimes cutting and the main end used for striking. The Body is mainly used for blocks, these 3 areas do vary as you progress in level though. The taiaha also has a spiritual element to it (very important), so we learn special prayers (karakia) as we go through our levels – for me personally this has provided a mental, spiritual and physical balance – one of the main reasons I do this. In the old days the taiaha became a like to its owner (the warrior), you and the taiaha become one. This still applies. In level 1 we learn to strike 9 different areas of the body, as well as jabbing/stabbing 3 areas forward using both the head and tail end of the stick (rakau/taiaha). You can compare this to Staff fighting, however it does differ quite substantially. Overall, there are 8 different levels. Starts at Poutahi (level 1) through to Pouwaru (level 8). Each level gets more and more difficult to learn. We also need to increase our knowledge in the Maori language and Maori customs as we progress, it is all part of the curriculumThere is so much to learn in mau rakau and it really is a beautiful Art. There are many different components to this Art. From laying the rau during a welcoming ceremony (powhiri) – this ceremony is called a wero, through to an actual whaiwahi (fight). A good book I recommend you read is the one about Pita Awatere (written by his grand daughter, Hinemoa Awatere), a wonderful book full of information about mau rakau. Note: there are different styles of mau rakau fighting, the one I have briefed is one taught by Te Whare Tutaua o Aotearoa, derived from the learnings of Pita Awatere. It is also believed that in the old days women did not fight with taiaha, however this has been and still is debated I know that some of my ancestors (women) faught with taiaha. We do play a major part in taiaha these days.
          I hope this helps, I can’t really explain too much, People have to be willing to learn about this properly (it is the Art of War), like our ancestors the only way to pass this down is orally / face-to-face
          The book is "A soldiers story" - Pita Awatere. Written by Hinemoa Awatere.
          There's a picture of a soldier on the front, that's Pita.


          • #6
            Very interesting, thank you very much Rick_nz.

            As the author you quoted in your second post says, I should see what it's really like to understand how Mau Rakau works.
            The book 'A soldiers story' seems to be worth reading.