Thursday, April 30, 2009

Maori Stick Games

Kotane Maori Cultural Performance, Willowbank, Christchurch. Feb 2009. Ajr

When I was a kid growing up in the Waikato, Maori stick games were just another part of primary school learning and I loved them. Called Ti Rakau or titi torea in Maori, stick games usually involve two or more people sitting facing each other. In time to rhythmic chants or songs, they click the sticks together and throw them to each other. The aim of course is to catch the flying sticks without dropping them and breaking the rhythm. Early Maori are said to have used the stick games to train young men in the arts of spear handling. I was reminded of all this when I visited Willowbank here in Christchurch recently to watch a performance by the Kotane kapa haka group – they included stick games in their cultural performance. If you click on the word Kotane in the index line below, you’ll see other segments from their great evening show.

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