Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Mau rakau is a martial arts form that teaches the use of weapons like taiaha and mere pounamu in combat. As with other martial arts styles, students of the taiaha spend years mastering the skills of timing, balance and co-ordination necessary to wield the weapon effectively. The taiaha is often used in the wero and is better known than the short clubs but each and every weapon had it's own qualities and warriors were trained is all aspects of fighting. A wero is a challenge laid down to dignitaries or high members of the community visiting the marae. Students of Mau rakau undergo years of intense training. It requires fitness, skill, stamina and strength on a par with any of the Asian martial arts and the rank and grading of students is strictly monitored.
For  Te Whare Tu Taua students the pinnacle of achievement is Pou-Waru. The culmination of and 8 stage grading system that prepares students for life as a tohunga (expert). Students would have dedicated more than 10 years of their life to reaching this stage and only the best of the best will make it this far. The grading is grueling as those who have already qualified to this level are doing the grading and it is in their best interest to make it as tough as possible. No quarter is asked and no quarter is given.
This weekend several people will grade and part of that grading will take place at Hoani Waititi Marae. Good luck to all those who front up... kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui... It is an awesome spectacle to watch these gradings... to see the passion and pride of these young people (Men and Women) committed to this kaupapa and dedicated to the ancient martial art of Mau Rakau.

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