Pouwhenua or pou whenua (land post), are carved, wooden posts, or are fighting staffs used by Maori, the indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Pou whenua are wooden posts that mark territorial boundaries or places of significance. They are generally artistically and elaborately carved and can be found throughout New Zealand. Pouwhenua are fighting staffs that are long-handled with a club-like broad head for striking.
Much like totem poles, pou whenuas tell a story. They are significant to the Māori peoples, representing their contributions to the cultural heritage of the New Zealand. They acknowledge the association between the people (tāngata) and the land (whenua). Specifically, they reflect the relationship between the ancestors, environment, and the reputation or standing of the Tāngata Whenua people.
Belonging to the same class of weaponry as the tewhatewha and taiaha, pouwhenua are usually made of wood and have a large, broad blade known as rau at one end and a pointed, sharp tip at the other end. Usually a human head motif was carved on the shaft to form a boundary between the shaft and the long spear point. Pouwhenua were used for attacking an opponent with short sharp strikes or stabbing thrusts with quick footwork on the part of the wielder. A single blow with the broad blade could easily result in death.
Other Māori weapons:
- "Pou Whenua". Arc.govt.nz. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Ross Hemera. "TE KARAKA Issue 44". Tekaraka.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Hiroa, Te Rangi (1949). "Long Clubs". The Coming of the Maori. Maori Purposes Fund Board. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- "Pouwhenua (long handled pointed fighting staff)". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
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- Pouwhenua (pointed fighting staff) from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
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