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Top 10 TERRIFYING Facts About MAORI WARRIORS 10. Their Tattoos Were Carved In Tattoos held a special significance to the
Maori people and both men and women would get them. The most common place to get them was the
face, but some Maori people were known to get their necks, torsos, and arms tattooed
as well. Most Maoris started getting their tattoos
during adolescence. Each design was unique, but generally they
were in the shape spirals. They were tattooed on during a ceremony, and
each line showed the person’s bravery and strength. After all, these tattoos weren’t put on
using a needle gun. Instead, they were carved into the skin using
a mallet and a chisel that was made from a bone and the ink was made from ash and fat. This left the skin with grooves like a record,
instead of being smooth like modern tattoos. 9. The War Dance One of the most notable traditions used by
the Maori warriors, and still used by many of their national sports teams today, is the
traditional native dance called the Haka. During the dance, the participants say a chant,
stamp their feet, stick out their tongues, and bulge out their eyes. While the dance was often performed to welcome
special guests, it was actually developed for war. The dance was used in two different ways. The first is that it was used to intimidate
their opponents. The other way it was used was that it was
performed before a battle during a ritual. If there was something wrong with the dance,
then the elders were sure that it was a bad omen. This gave them the chance to either abandon
or modify their plans. 8. The Mere Club Was Used to Crack Skulls The mere club was the most common weapon used
by Maori warriors. It was in the shape of a teardrop, and made
from bone, jade, or stone. They were often decorated and considered heirlooms
since it took so long to craft one. They are a blunt force weapon and were used
in close range fighting. Often, a Maori warrior would attack an opposing
tribesman by swinging the mere club down on his shoulder. This would hopefully break the collar bone,
or dislocate or break their shoulder. Then their opponent would be unable to defend
himself against a blow to the head; often to the temple. Behind the temple is the Pterion, which is
the weakest point of the skull. Since the skull is so thin there, it usually
only took one blow to that area to kill an opposing warrior. 7. The Dead Were Buried and Dug Back up Again
and Then Reburied The Maori had a very unusual method for burying
their dead. Starting early in their culture, the Maori
people began to bury people twice. First, after a week or two of mourning, the
body was wrapped in mats and then would be buried and allowed to decompose. Then, a year later, the bodies were dug up
and the bones were scraped to remove any remaining flesh. The bones were then painted with red ochre,
which is a natural pigment, and taken to different settlements, where they once again mourned
the dead. Then there was another ceremony before they
were buried again in a sacred place. Once this second burial was complete, the
person’s soul would go on to their mysterious afterlife. 6. The War Strategy A war party, called a hapu, usually never
consisted of more than 100 men, and in some cases women fought as well. Sometimes multiple hapus would join together,
but with more warriors, they became less organized. Warriors were also trained from a young age,
and every male was trained as a warrior. One specific thing they worked on was wrist
strength. This would make their weapons, like the mere,
much more effective. How the Maoris would attack other tribes is
by travelling to enemy settlements quietly, or pretend they were just on a hunting expedition. Once they got close, they would attack, often
at dawn. All the men were killed because this eliminated
the chance that any tribesman could come back and seek revenge. The women were also taken as a prize of war. 5. Heads of the Killed Were Taken as Trophies Heads held a special significance to the Maori
people, and they were known to take the heads of their fallen enemies. Once they had the head, they would remove
the brain and the eyes. Next, all the orifices were sealed with flax
fiber and gum. The head was boiled or steamed in an oven. Then, the heads were dried in the sun for
several days and then treated with shark oil. One reason why they kept the heads of their
enemies was so they could mock it later. One missionary said he watched one chief say
to the head of an enemy chieftain: You wanted to run away didn’t you? But my greenstone club overtook you! And after you were cooked you were made food
for me! And where is your father? He is cooked. And where is your brother? He is eaten. And where is your wife? There she sits; a wife for me. And where are your children? There they are, loads on their backs carrying
food as my slaves. If that wasn’t insulting enough, they also
developed a bizarre game with the heads. They would pile them in a heap, and then they
set the head of the principal chief on the top of the pile. Then, using stones or other heads, they took
turns trying to knock off the head at the top of the pile. 4. Captain James Cook’s First Encounter Was
Terrifying The first encounter between Europeans and
the Maori was in December 1646, when a Dutch ship made landfall near a Maori tribe. Both groups were standoffish and this led
to a small fight that resulted in deaths on both sides. After the run in, the Dutch sailed off and
Europeans would not go back until October 1767, when English navigator James Cook travelled
there looking for the fabled fourth continent. When Captain Cook first encountered the Maori,
they sent out two war canoes to meet them. When the canoes approached, two fully grown
Maori warriors, complete with face tattoos, stood up and held up the shrunken heads of
their latest opponents, who were also covered with tattoos. Cook and his crew immediately noticed the
detail on the faces and knew the heads were real. Cook wanted to interact with the Maori’s
peacefully, but there were some misunderstandings and the Maori acted aggressively. As a result, the Europeans were supposedly
forced to kill a few Maori in self-defense; much to the dismay of Cook. To convince them they had come in peace, Cook
and his men ended up kidnapping some Maori warriors. They acted kindly to them, and then let them
go. This led to a better relationship between
the Maori and the Europeans, which would play an important role in the shaping of New Zealand. 3. Their Most Famous Warrior Hongi Hika It’s believed that the most famous Maori
chief, Hongi Hika, was born in 1778. As a young man, he was a fierce and agile
warrior who rose up through the ranks of his tribe, the Ngapuhi iwi. His chief got along with the Europeans and
also saw the value of muskets in warfare. The chief managed to trade with the Europeans
for several guns and ammo and in 1808, the tribe got into a war with another tribe, called
the Ngati Whatua. The Ngapuhi iwi fired off their first shots
with the muskets, but the problem with muskets of the time is that it took at least 20 seconds
to reload. The Ngati Whatua used this reloading time
to attack. Many members of the Ngapuhi iwi tribe, including
the chief, were slaughtered. Hongi Hika was one of the lucky few to get
away. With the chief dead, Hongi Hika was the most
senior, so he took control of the tribe. The defeat could have very well discouraged
Hongi Hika from using muskets. However, he had the foresight to see that
muskets could be an incredibly important part of warfare. So he got closer to the Europeans, even visiting
Australia and England, where he became a bit of a sensation because of his tattoos. He even converted to Christianity and set
up the first Christian mission in New Zealand. This relationship to the church gave Hongi
Hika access to more rifles because he vowed to become a defender of the church. However, he wasn’t simply given all the
guns, instead trading for them. As for what the Europeans wanted in exchange
for the guns, well… that was shrunken heads. In fact, as the trade became more common,
slaves and prisoners of war were brought to the Europeans and they chose which heads they
wanted. The Maori then tattooed the chosen victim,
and decapitated them. The market got to be so flooded with Maori
heads that they were being sold for as little as £2, which was about a week’s wage in
England for a working man. Nevertheless, Hongi Hika was able to amass
over 3,000 guns, and plenty of ammo and gunpowder in his 10-years as chief. Starting in 1818, his tribe slaughtered other
tribes and took their women. Within a year, he had complete control over
Northern New Zealand. However, other tribes soon followed in Hongi
Hika’s footsteps and bought their own guns. Hongi Hika was killed when he took a bullet
to the lung in 1828. 2. Infanticide Like other warrior cultures, the Maoris committed
infanticide. Females were more likely to be killed because
tribes needed more males, since every male was a warrior and there needed to be a decent
amount of warriors to ensure the security of the tribe. Also, males were more likely to be killed
in battle, meaning that there would have been an upset in the sex ratios later on in life. Infanticide was also common if there was anything
wrong with the baby. Essentially, there were five ways that the
infants were killed. Their skulls could be crushed, they could
be drowned in a stone basin, strangulation, suffocation, and finally, the most disturbing
way was that mothers would press against the soft spot on the skull and kill the baby instantly. Well, that’s cheery. Hey, can’t say we didn’t warn you. “Terrifying” is right there in the title. 1. They Performed Cannibalism Whether the Maori warriors committed cannibalism
or not is highly debated. Some historians believe that it was just Europeans
trying to paint the Maoris as wild savages. However, besides witness accounts of cannibalism,
tribal oral histories and archaeological evidence also strongly suggest that the Maori warriors
indulged in cannibalizing vanquished enemies. There are a few reasons that the Maori ate
their opponents, and it wasn’t because they were hungry. One was to internalize their spirit, which
they called mana. Another theory is that the cannibalism was
part of their post battle rage. Another is that it would send a message to
enemies. They thought that the greatest humiliation
you could do to your enemy was to kill them, chop them up, eat them, and then excrete them

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