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A 19th century New Zealand Maori Taiaha fighting weapon. The Taiaha is usually made from Manuka or Puriri wood and there are also examples made from whale bone. We believe this example of a Taiaha is made from Manuka wood which is described as a red hard wood, in the UK we know it as 'Tea Tree', the leaves used by early settlers as a tea. The chosen piece of manuka wood would be cut and shaped by hand , hardened in a fire then scraped and carved into it's present form by shells or stones. The Taiaha would be between 5-7 feet in length with a flat broad striking end and a carved top stabbing end. The top end is in the form of a face with a tongue protruding and showing the lips and teeth with eyes looking over the top. The tongue is carved with spiral detail similar to the tattooing seen on Maori warriors or rugby players. In the past the area below the eyes would be decorated with a bunch of red feathers (Kura) and long white hair from a Maori dog. The Taiaha is in very good original condition. (Circa 1800 -1900) Length 181cm (71 inches)
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