Mau rākau is a general term referring to the skilled use of weapons. It is said that the use of weapons was taught in the Whare-tū-taua (House or school of war). The term Mau taiaha is used to refer to the use of the taiaha and does not necessarily include other weapons.
It is said weapons including the taiaha and patu were handed down by Tāne, god of the forest and Tū, god of war, the two sons of Rangi-nui and Papatuanuku. The Whare-tū-taua (House of war) is a term which covers the basics of educating young toa (warriors) in the arts of war.