Maori Long Club/Fighting Staff, New Zealand
length 64 1/4in (163.2cm)
taiaha, finely stone-carved from hard wood with original feathers and dog hair attached with fiber, of classic long, flattened form, the sharp tip carved with a stylized janus head inlaid with paua (Haliotis iris) shells for the eyes; fine, reddish-brown patina with wear indicative of age.
Private Collection, East Coast
"A taiaha is a hand weapon usually made from hard wood, or sometimes whale bone, and usually about 1.5 metres long. Taiaha have one end carved in the shape of an upoko (head) with a face on each side. The eyes of the two faces see all around, reflecting the alertness of the taiaha exponent. An arero (tongue) protruding from the upoko forms one end of the weapon. The upoko is adorned with a tauri (collar) of feathers and/or dog hair, the tassels of which form the awe. Below this, the tinana (body) provides the grip. The other end of the taiaha has a flat smooth blade, or rau, usually about five to seven centimetres wide, which is the main striking blade." (Te Papa Tangarewa, New Zealand)