Learning and practicing weaponry skills is vastly different to manipulating uku (clay) into cups and bowls, but both require confidence and discipline, and a respect for tradition.
For uku artist, and current mau rākau tauira Alex Wong, these practices are complementary and help build his mātauranga Māori.
Raised in Kaeo, and now living in Otaki he is passionate about te ao Māori and challenges himself to learn as much as he can. Along with mau rākau, he is also studying te reo Māori, and is interested in pursuing whakairo.
Both a physical and mental challenge, mau rākau requires self-discipline and helps grow self-confidence.
Study of the traditional Māori martial art focusses on the history, tikanga, and values of Toa, as well as developing skills with Māori weaponry such as taiaha.
Mau rākau is offered at the Ōtaki campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and is taught by highly skilled kaiako, Tipi Wehipeihana. Tipi hopes to see tauira grow their weaponry skills while also building on their own self-identity.
The level 5 Mau Rākau diploma is for anyone 16 and over, any skill and fitness level, who is open to learning or developing their mau rākau skills.
Photo Credit: Jess Wawatai