Long-handled fighting staff (Tewhatewha) New Zealand

Māori long-handled fighting staff (Tewhatewha)
Māori long-handled fighting staff (Tewhatewha)

Custodian: University of Glasgow Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery

Reference: GLAHM E.316/2

This axe-shaped staff, with pointed end, was used by Māori chiefs to communicate and issue orders to their warriors in battle as well as a combat weapon. The staff originates with the Ngāpuhi whose traditional home is in the far northern peninsula of New Zealand's North Island. However, this example was probably made further south around the Hauraki Gulf, east of Auckland, and is thought to date to the Te Puawaitanga period (1500–1800). It is missing its original feather tassel which would have hung from the hole in the lobed blade. There are small carved details around the circumference of the lower part of the shaft.

An old handwritten label attached to this item links it with the Andersonian Collection which was donated to The Hunterian Museum in 1888.

Maker: not known

Materials: wood

Dimensions: 1670mm