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Best Elsdon 1902. Notes on the art of war as conducted by the Maori of New Zealand. Journal of the Polynesian Society 11: 11-41, 47-75, 127-162, 219-246.

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Evil omen to pound at night. "Kaua e patu ite aruhe i te pō, he upoko tangata, he tohu aitua" (Do not pound fernroot at night, a human head (will be so struck), it is an evil omen) Another saying is "Ka ora karikari aruhe, ka mate tākiri kākā" (the digger of fernroot has an abundance of food, but the parrotsnarer will go hungry).

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Principle food on war trail was aruhe. Dried, roasted and pounded to disengage black, stringy fibres (kaka) from meal. Often formed into cakes (komeke) that were again roasted. "Te manawa nui o Whete" = the sustaining food of Whete. Whete, an ancestor of Matatua people, would eat 2 large komeke before battle, and performed great feats of valour and endurance. Prepared meal usually formed into a roll of 6-10" in length. At camping place of war or travelling party, could tell number of chiefs with party by noting refuse of aruhe upon ground. Aruhe more carefully prepared for chiefs, less fibres to be rejected.

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Notes on the art of war as conducted by the Maori of New Zealand

Best Elsdon
Journal of the Polynesian Society

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12 June 2007
20 June 2020
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