Superbly carved pair of wahaika clubs in orthodox form covered in deep relief linear triple haehae and dog tooth pattern. The reke (butt) has a bored thong hourglass lanyard hole. Deep dark rich age patina. Possible fine examples from the depression era Rotorua school c 1920s.
By the 1920s Maori culture and traditions were in serious danger of being lost forever. Believing the material culture – and in particular wood carving – held the key to cultural preservation, Māori visionary, Sir Apirana Ngata, established the first Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in 1926.
Wahaika is a short handled close quarter striking weapon used for thrusting and striking. The primary striking edge of the wahaika, like other close quarter striking weapons, is the convex distal tip which can be used to great effect when thrust with force at vital points of the head and body, particularly the temple, the corner of the eye, between the eyes, the mouth, and the ribs.
Length: 40 cm (15.5 inches) x Width: 13 cm (5.0 inches)
See: Notes on the art of war, as conducted by the Maori of new Zealand, with accounts of various customs, rites, superstitions, &c., pertaining to war, as practiced and believed in by the ancient Maori. Elsdon Best of Tuhoe-land.