A Taiaha (pronounced Tie-ah-ha) is a weapon carried by the Maori warriors of New Zealand. Te Puni, MÄori Chief MÄori is the name of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their language. ...
The taiaha is a staff with a wooden tongue-shaped blade at the end. Sticking out ones tongue is a traditional sign of Maori defiance used before one's enemies. A taiaha is a work of art as well as a weapon. The blade could be more effective if pointed like a spear but the broad head allows room for ornate carvings. Just beneath the head is a cluster of feathers meant to create a visual distraction for one's opponent. Taiaha is a wooden weapon, usually between 5-6ft in lenth. It is designed to be used as a close quarters weapon for short sharp strikes, or stabbing thrusts. Think of a Japanese Bo Staff and you get the idea of how it was used. One end of the Taiaha is flattened and somewhat wider than the other, the narrow end decorated usually with an image of arero (a face defiantly sticking out its tongue, the tongue would end in a point which would be the stabbing end. In most cases the weapon was wielded so that the flatter wider end would be the area of intended contact.
The Taiaha was just one of many weapons common to the indigenous Maori but it has become fairly well known due to the resurgence of its use in pureley ceremonial settings; it is common for heads of state and visiting dignitaries to be welcomed to New Zealand with dance performances which include the Taiaha. Tradition says that when strangers aproached a Maori Pa (homestead/village) they would be challenged by a warrior with a Taiaha to see if they were friend or foe. Among modern Maori the Taiaha is one of many cultural items which are used to introduce youngsters in school to some of the traditional ways. Contests and competitions take place with schools fielding teams not for fights or matches but as "dance" or ritual.
After nearly 120 years of a British-based insignia, the New Zealand Army now incorporates the image of a taiaha into its official crest.
The taiaha was also featured in two video games for the PlayStation 2, The Mark of Kri and its sequel Rise of the Kasai as a weapon for the games' hero, Rau. In "The Mark of Kri", the taiaha is plunged into the ground, however, in maori culture, this is an offence as is it considered to be stabbing the earth mother. The PlayStation 2 (PS2) (Japanese: ãã¬ã¤ã¹ãã¼ã·ã§ã³2) is Sonys second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3 (which is not to be released until November 2006). ...
Additionally, the taiaha as a symbol of traditional Maori way was shown in the 2002 film, Whale Rider a drama about a young girl growing up with her grandfather and caught between traditional Maori ways and the modern (albeit rural NZ) western-style ideas. The Whale Rider is a 2003 book by New Zealand Maori author Witi Tame Ihimaera. ...
- The taiaha -- indigenous knowledge bringing benefits to modern life