Rare Māori spear could spark warrior spirit at auction

Posted on 06/08/2020 in Press Coverage

One of the finest examples of a traditional Māori spear we have ever seen could bring out the warrior spirit among bidders at auction.

The late 19th century weapon, called a taiaha, is due to go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on August 18 with an estimate of £5,000-£8,000.

Hansons’ valuer and auctioneer Rik Alexander says the late 19th century object has a high estimate because it is one of the best examples of a taiaha in existence.

The weapon, which is usually made of wood or whalebone, would have been used for short, sharp strikes or stabbing thrusts with efficient footwork on the part of a Māori warrior, the Māori being the indigenous Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand.

Taiaha are usually between five to six feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) in length and feature the arero (tongue), used for stabbing; the upoko (head), the base from which the tongue protrudes; and the ate (liver) or tinana (body), the long flat blade which is also used for striking and parrying.

What makes this one extra special is its fearsome carved head with added feathers and excellent condition for its age. It was sourced in Oxfordshire and has been in the same family since the early 20th century.

The taiaha is due to be sold in Hansons’ August Antiques and Collectors Auction. View the catalogue, browse and bid at - due live Aug 8.

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