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Forest Lore of the Maori

Blrd-Taking Implements

Blrd-Taking Implements

Dieffenbach the observant it was who informed us that the Maori was in the habit of catching but few birds, and that he possessed "very few and simple means for bringing them into his power." He is then good enough to tell us how the Maori caught birds by hand, for which see Dieffenbach's Report. The scientific Teuton failed to look prior to leaping, hence his woeful mis-statements, which can be disproved by the data hereinafter given.

Bird spears. Inasmuch as the spear was employed by the Maori in taking a number of different species of birds it will be well to deal with it here. Bird-spears differed considerably in length, the shorter ones, termed maiere by the Matatua tribes, was from say 12 ft. to 16 ft. in length, and this was used for spearing birds on shrubs and page 154small trees, and for use in all places where the fowler could operate within a short distance of the birds. Williams gives tao kaihuia as another name for this short form; this name I have not collected, and indeed it looks suspiciously like tao-kaihua, which is a name for the long form of bird-spear, also known as taoroa, but often abbreviated to tao. Under kaihua Williams gives tao kaihua as the long form of spear. These spears are also known as here, as among the Raukawa and Ngati Hau folk, as tahere (collected at Whanganui), and as rawhi (used in the far north); yet another name, given by Wairarapa natives, is tari. This last term is a word used to denote a noose, and so an element of doubt may enter here, but to support my informant's statement I give the following extract from an old composition:—

  • Te mata o taku tari ko toroa-a-ruru e hora mai i te moana
  • Homai ki uta nei kia whakataraia koe hei kaniwha mo taku tao
  • Mo Punaweko i roto i te wao nui a Tane.

Here the composer calls for an albatross-bone to be sent ashore to serve as a barbed point for his tari, that he may assail Punaweko, who personifies forest-birds, in the great forest of Tane.

All birds-spears were tara rautahi, or single pointed, and the timbers used by the makers of such were tawa ( Beilschmiedia Tawa), kapara (hard, resinous heartwood of rimu and kahikatea (Dacrydium cupressinum and Podocarpus dacrydioides), manuka (Leptospermum ericoides), and occasionally aka (stems of various climbing plants). The barbed detachable point of the spear was known as the tara, kaniwha, tara-kaniwha, katara, niwha, and makoi. The materials from which these points were made were bone (often human) in the majority of cases, but occasionally hardwood such as maire, and the hard black parts of tree-fern trunks known as katote, katara, and kaka ponga, while tara whai (spine of sting-ray) and pounamu (greenstone, nephrite) were apparently rarely used. Colenso teils us that these barbed points were called tara matia in some districts. When European products came to hand the Maori welcomed iron as a superior and highly desirable kind of stone, and, among the uses to which he put it, was that of bird-spear points. The reducing of rod and bar iron to the correct size was a long task, but when he discovered gridirons then his more serious troubles were over and his labour much reduced. Some of the barbed iron points I have seen were marvels of symmetry and neat finish.

The origin of Maori place-names is often difficult to trace, but in some cases a compound one is true to form and so explains itself—unless it be that some ingenious aboriginal has bethought him of an explanation that fits the name, which, I am inclined to page 155believe, happens not infrequently. The name Tararua, as pertaining to a well-known mountain range, has been explained by natives of the Wairarapa district. The name might be rendered as 'double pointed' or as 'two peaks,' and the Maori teils us that the two peaks from which the range derived its name, are those known as Pukeamoamo and Puke-ahurangi, which are seen close together against the sky-line about opposite Otaki. These peaks are said to have been named by one Rangi-kaikore after two tara or bird-spear points that he broke when spearing birds on that range. The spear-shaft was named Te Heke-wairangi.

The butt-end of a bird-spear is called the hoehoe; the fore-end where the point is lashed on is the mātāhere. The length of a tao kaihua, the longer form of spear, has been given as from 20 to 40 ft. by various writers and contributors of data, but one may be sure that no spears of 40 ft. were made, 30 ft. would be a very long spear, and most of those seen were by no means so long as that. Colenso gives them as from 20 to 35 ft. in one of his papers, and from 30 to 36 ft, in another, the former range is preferable. The same writer says that only two spears could be obtained from one tawa tree; Ranapiri of Ngati Raukawa teils me that three were sometimes got from one tree. This would allow for one quarter of the trunk to be worked to waste, but it might occasionally be possible, by the exercise of great care, to split a straight, clear trunk of white tawa into four quarters, each of which would, if carefully worked, provide a spear-shaft. The botanist recognizes but one species of tawa, but as noted earlier all bush folk, Maori and Pakeha, know two kinds, termed white and black tawa, and it is the former that was selected when a bird-spear was wanted, the black variety being useless for the purpose. Spears were hewn from the clean white timber termed ngako by the Maori, not from the centre of the tree, but from the middle part of the radius of its diameter. Extreme care would be displayed to split the long log log precisely down its centre, and the same in the splitting of the half-log, tawa being a brash-grained timber that is liable to 'run off' or 'flange off,' as the bushman expresses it. This timber was used for the purpose on the East Coast, also in the Bay of Plenty district, and on the west coast of the island.

Colenso teils us that the making of a bird-spear often took two years, and very likely it did, but when we speak of the time that it took to fashion an implement, to weave a cloak, to build a house, or make a canoe in the old Maori days, it is well to remember that a task was not, in many cases, commenced and diligently pursued to its completion, as with us. Many interruptions might prolong the page 156time, other tasks would call the workman aside, the planting, care, and lifting of crops, fishing and fowling-operations, perchance a merry raid on a neighbouring tribe, together with other tasks or pastimes. The hewing-down of a half or quarter-section of a tawa in order to form a slim spear-shaft would call for great care, so brittle is the timber, but at any work requiring care and precision the Maori assuredly excelled. The final processes consisted of scraping with stone flakes and rubbing smooth with pumice stone, in some cases, while some rubbed spear-shafts on the trunk of a tree fern (kaponga) in order to give them a smooth surface. In the Grey collection at Auckland are two bird-spears, each about 20 ft. in length; these are well finished specimens and are very slim, about ℅ in. thick in the middle, or but little more, and tapering somewhat to each end. Crawford states that he saw tawa birdspears 30 ft. or 40 ft. long up the Whanganui river in the 'sixties, but I still have no faith in a 40 ft. spear, one of 30 ft. is quite remarkable enough.

These long spears were used for spearing birds when on big trees with far-spread branches, as during the rarangi tahi period, when the kaka and tui were feeding on the wai kaihua or nectar of the rata blossoms. These spears rejoiced in special names in at least some cases, and much care was taken to preserve them, for tawa is a timber that quickly decays when exposed to the weather. During the fowling-season only were they kept in the forest, being suspended from a tree in a vertical position when not in use, at other times they were placed under cover, being usually carefully suspended from, or attached to a roof so that they would not develop a kink or warp. When a spear was to be suspended by one end from a tree branch, so as to hang straight, a short stick was lashed diagonally to the shaft near the point, this downward projecting pekapeka, as it was called, enabled the fowler to hook his spear on to a branch, and so leave it. I find that my Tuhoe friends generally gave me about 4½ maro as the length of a tao kaihua, say about 25 ft.

The spears made from mapara should have been very durable, for that resinous wood is little affected by exposure. A straightgrained piece was selected for the purpose, and this lent itself freely to faultless Splitting; the trying part of the task was the reduction of the angular piece so obtained to the desired size and form by the use of thick-bitted stone tools, assuredly a tedious task. This material could be acquired only when the tree furnishing it had long perished as regards sap-wood, leaving the hard, dense-grained mapara to survive for generations; such exposure results in this heart-wood page 157acquiring a flint-like hardness in many cases, a hardness that will often cause a steel axe to glance off, and occasionally a sturdy blow will break off a goodly section of the steel face; such is the mapara. Now, in some districts at least the Maori liked to procure this spear-material from a white pine (kahikatea, Podocarpus dacrydioides) that had been renowned as a fruitful tree and as a taumatua, or tree on which birds were snared, in which case it would have had a pecial name assigned to it. A bird-spear fashioned from the timber of such a tree would be named after that tree.

The spear-maker who used manuka as a material fashioned his implement from the species known to our scientists as Leptospermum ericoides, the 'white manuka' of ordinary nomenclature, the other species not being suitable for the purpose. The first named, known as manuka, mārū, kopuka and kahikātoa, will, under favourable conditions, develop a straight-barrelled, straight-grained and comely trunk that lends itself to free riving; as timber men of the north say it is 'good rift.' Even the Maori, with his wooden wedges and clumsy wooden beetle, had no difficulty in splitting it. These spears were more rigid than those fashioned from tawa, and so easier to manipulate. Wairarapa natives informed me that their elders preferred it on that account, and also on account of it being less liable to break; there is a wide difference in the breaking strain of the two timbers. R. H Matthews reported that in the far north, manuka spears were sometimes made in two pieces, which were bound together presumably scarfed in some way, while one end was pointed and barbed. This looks as if the tara or piercing point was not a detachable piece, but simply the reduced end of the shaft; a novel procedure. The Waiapu folk told me that a crude form of bird-spear, probably for temporary use, consisted simply of a long, slim rod, a manuka stem in the rough of perhaps one inch or a little more in thickness. A spear-shaft composed of two pieces would not, I feel assured, commend itself to the Maori of yore; as they were used with branch-rests they would not work so easily. This was the only way in which L. scoparium was employed as a spear-shaft. Whanganui natives used the kopuka, as they style L. ericoides, for bird-spear shafts.

In vol. 10 of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute Mr. Coleman Phillips described a novel form of bird-spear shaft that was simply a length of aka, the stem of a climbing plant; it was, he remarked: "…. made out of a piece of rata vine, 30 to 40 ft. in length, and more resembled a stiff piece of rope than a spear, it being perfectly flexible, and could be easily trailed through thick bush." In the succeeding volume of the above journal Mr. Colenso page 158denounced the vine spear-shaft as a makeshift one only occasionally used, the point being lashed on to a length of the stem of a forest creeper, but certainly not a rata vine, the same being a misnomer. Reliable evidence goes to prove that Colenso was in the right; likewise I must again object to the length of 30 to 40 ft. R. H. Matthews gives 25 ft. as about the length of the rawhi or bird-spear of the far north, the diameter being 1½ in.; this is a reasonable length for a shaft so slim. About that length, I believe, were two long specimens, named Koamai-tupeka and Owha, that I saw in use at Ruatahuna in the 'nineties.

The shorter form of these spears, termed maiere by the Matatua tribes, was used when spearing birds on shrubs, small trees, and also larger trees where the branch-spread was not great. When berries were ripe birds were taken on shrubs as small as the poroporo (Solarium aviculare), also on mako (Aristotelia racemosa), karamu (Coprosma spp.) and ti or cabbage tree (Cordyline), hence a spear of, say 14 to 18ft. in length was quite enough for such a purpose. These shorter spears were used throughout the season, the longer ones at certain times only, during the rarangi tahi or honey period, and when birds were feeding on the berries of trees with great branch-spread.

Now as to the barbed point of our spear, the tara or makoi, it were well to see how and when this effective attachment originated. In order to ascertain this interesting fact we must hie us back to the age of heroes who strode the fair earth performing wondrous deeds. For was it not Maui of the many lands, and many surprising activities, who gave this boon to his people; not that bird-spear points were unknown prior to his time, for they were in use, but no one had bethought him of any contrivance that would retain the bird on the point when pierced by it. Thus we are told that Maui accompanied his four brothers on a bird-spearing trip into the forest, where many birds were speared but managed to escape, owing to the barbless condition of the spear-points. Empty handed our fowlers returned home, where Maui said to his mother: "O dame! In vain were birds speared by us, for ever the birds struggled and so freed themselves." Quoth the mother: "Let me see your spear." Maui produced his spear and the mother of heroes examined it, whereupon she said: "Now look you, here is the cause of your failure, your spear-point is not barbed; you must furnish the point with barbs modelled on my own, after which, when you spear a bird, it will be unable to escape. Even so did Maui re-fashion his spear-point and furnish it with barbs to hold the birds when pierced, and those were modelled on the famous barb of his mother that had page 159done yeoman service. So it was that the tara kaniwha, the barbed spear point, became known, and the heart of the fowler rejoiced (see Figs. 13, 14, pp. 250, 251).

In another version of the above myth Maui is said to have modelled his spear-point on the spines (tara), on the back of the tuatara lizard (Sphenodon punctatum), and so to this day such spear points are called tara. Maui named his bird-spear Murirangawhenua, and set off to try his improved barbed point; on that first day, we are told in manner most convincing, he secured more birds than he could carry home.

Colenso has recorded some data concerning the woodcraft of the Maori, and has stated that the points of bird-spears were from 3 in. to 5 in. long. I can but surtnise that at least the 3 is a misprint, for no Maori would use so short a point for a bird-spear, although one form of fish-spear was furnished with short points. I very much doubt if any points less than 6 in. long were attached to bird-spear shafts; that would give about 4 in. of exposed point. I have seen many bone points, principally human bone made from thigh bones, and about 10 in. in length; all iron ones I have seen were long; the katara points described by Waiapu natives are said to have been considerably longer than Colenso's figures. This material is also known as katote and kaka ponga; it is, as already shown, the hard black parts of the stems of a tree fern (Cyathea dealbata); it is extremely hard, also durable, but on the east coast was viewed as an inferior material, some say merely as a makeshift. R. H. Matthews, of the far north, has stated that this form of point was so fashioned as to be about 10 in. long, ⅝ in. wide, and ⅜ in. thick; it was worked smooth, barbed and pointed, then lashed neatly to the shaft. The Tuhoe folk say that their elders used the katote only as a makeshift for temporary use, and that they did not work barbs on it.

Hardwoods of other kinds were also favoured as material for points, and of these mapara and maire were, apparently, most used; the first of these we have already dealt with, and maire, especially Olea montana, is also a very hard and durable timber. These points were armed with barbs on one side, as were bone points, and such barbs were of course formed by a process of reduction, of cutting and rasping. T. W. Downes teils us that Whanganui natives sometimes fashioned bird-spear shafts from maire (probably O. lanceolata); if this was so then the woodsmen certainly had a trying task. I have heard of two cases in which stingray barbs or spines were utliized as points for bird-spears; these spikes, termed tara whai and hoto whai, were also used as points for fighting spears. In one case only I was informed that iwi toroa was used for points, and, if this was so, then page 160the toroa bone' was a wing-bone of the albatross, doubtless the radius, though toroa is a name applied to several other species of sea-birds.

Whale-bone (i.e., the bones of whales, not baleen), was also utilized as material for spear-points and other implements, but bones of the paraoa or sperm-whale were preferred for such purposes, owing, I was told, to some difference in the texture thereof. The Whanganui folk told me that their elders fashioned bird-spear points from this material, and that they were from 6 in. to 8 in. long. But the most highly-prized material for such spear-points was human bone, that is to say the bones of enemies. To possess a spearpoint fashioned from the thigh-bone of a tribal enemy brought the purest joy to the soul of the grim Maori warrior. Now, when a man used a spear provided with such a point, he soon ascertained whether the owner of that bone had, or had not, been a courageous person when in the world of life. Had he been a brave warrior, then any bird impaled upon that point refrained from making any outcry, but would die silently. But if the former owner of that bone had been a pusillanimous person, or one of low birth (and those were almost synonymous terms to the Maori), then the speared bird would make a great outcry. Most of the specimens seen by the writer were from 9 in. to 11 in. in length, were barbed on one side only, and were well-finished artifacts. One of these points of human bone is attached to a shaft of about 22 ft. in length in the Auckland Museum; other well-finished points of the same material in that institution were obtained at Ruatahuna.

A good specimen of bone-point in the Dominion Museum is No. 3529; it is 10½ in. long, and is pierced by a diminutive hole situated about half an inch from the butt end; near the base has been carved a grotesque head, and outward from this extends the serrated business end of the spear, about 6½ in. in length. As in a number of other cases the barbed projections on this point are not arranged in a regular, equi-distant manner, but are arranged in blocks of five and four niwha or kaniwha (barbs). At some distance from the part that would be covered by the lashing when the point was secured to a shaft is a cluster of five barbs covering about ⅞ in., then comes a blank space of 1 in., then four barbs, then another blank space of ⅞ in., then four more barbs, another blank space, and then a final four barbs. The size of the barbs diminishes in agreement with the tapering form of the spear point. From the last clutch of four barbs the point runs free and true to a sharp point.

Point No. 1222 in the same collection is now but 6½ in. long, but the point has been broken off, though the bone looks strong. This specimen carries six deep and comparatively large barbs arranged in an equi-distant manner, not in groups, and they cover 3½ in., small page 161hole at base end. Yet another bone point, No. 2253 is of the same length, 6½ in., and carries nine barbs; pierced 1 in. from base. Another bone point 7 in. long has four barbs that are 1 in. apart.

Points fashioned from greenstone (nephrite) appears to have been made on very rare occasions. I have heard of a few such. These highly-valued artifacts were known as tara pounamu, greenstone points (taratara, barbed, many-pointed, rough), and when we ran a road over a hill of that name in the forest of Tuhoeland I made enquiries as to the origin of the name. In reply thereto I was told that an ancestor who bore the suggestive name of Tamatea-kai-taharua, and who flourished nearly 300 years ago, possessed a barbed greenstone bird-spear point, which he lost when spearing birds on that storm-lashed hill peak. He had speared a bird that, in its struggle to escape, detached the prized point and flew afar off carrying the point in its body. Here, I regret to say, my informant proceeded to enlarge the bounds of truth, and told me that Tama pursued that bird to Putauaki, where he killed or captured it, and so recovered his tara pounamu, which provided not only this instructive tale but also a name for the aforesaid hill. Inasmuch as Tama chased that bird over some fifty miles of rough lands we must admit that he earned his greenstone tara, and his undying fame.

The other greenstone-point alluded to hails from times remote, and is said to have given its name to the eponymic ancestor of a clan of the Kawhia district known as Ngai Tarapounamu. A woman of that people named Kopuwai possessed a greenstone bird-spear point that she seems to have sometimes worn as a neck pendant, presumably when it was off duty in the close season. A sketch of this object made by the Maori informant shows a serrated and barbed implement that tapers to a point; the butt end is notched in order to provide a good grip for the lashing, and then come four barbs on each side, a most unusual procedure, while the point is, as usual, free of barbs for some distance; a hole is pierced near the butt end. It was explained that this point was lashed to a carefully made, pliant shaft, and such shafts were thirty to forty feet (?) in length. The lashing covered the notches on the edges of the butt and 'below the pure maunga taura' and extended as far as the barbed part; such was the tao wero manu (bird-piercing spear). It appears that Kopuwai became known as Tara-pounamu on account of her possessing a tara pounamu; her descendants spread to Waikato, D'Urville Island, and elsewhere. The maunga taura mentioned may be the hole above mentioned, but I cannot grasp the meaning of pure as used in the Maori text.

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A collector of Maori artifacts has informed me that he saw down in the South Island a fashioned and ground greenstone spear-point, like a lance-head in appearance; it was 8 in. or 9 in. in length and was still attached to a shaft, as it had been found Underground by men engaged in making a sluice.

We have one more kind of point to deal with, and that is the iron one. Pieces of bar and rod iron were worked down into shapely form by laborious processes, for even steel files lose their bite after much use. The advent of the old-fashioned gridiron was a priceless boon to the fowlers of Maoriland, who purchased them from early traders. The iron bars of these domestic Utensils required much less working down, hence they were in high favour. I obtained several in past years that were marvels of symmetry, neat finish, and—usefulness. These specimens ran from about 10 in. to 12 in. in length, and one 11 in. long is ¼ in. wide at the butt end, while it tapers off to a sharp but flattened point. The butt end is flat on one side so that it may lie snugly on the flattened end of the long shaft, and, when rasping down the upper or outer side, two small ridges of the material were left, one at the extreme end of the butt, the other an inch or so pointward of it, these accommodated and contained the lashing, and so prevented any withdrawal of the makoi, it could not be pulled free. The barbs were fashioned in a similar manner as the work of reducing the iron bar proceeded. There are ten of these barbs, all on the one side of the implement, but not equi-distant from each other; they are arranged in sets of three and two, the barbs decreasing in size toward the point of the implement. The barb-points are about ½ in. apart, but the different groups of barbs are divided by blank spaces of from 1 in. to 1½ in.

One contributor of data stated that the pure maunga taura already mentioned was a name applied to the head of the spear-shaft where the point was lashed on; these points were either countersunk or one side of the spear-head was scarfed or flattened in order to accommodate the butt end of the point. In lashing the point on, the taimanga mode of lashing was employed in some districts. In lashing by this method the fowler did not commence operations with the end of the cord, but in the middle thereof; the cord was so placed under the spear-shaft head that the latter lay in the middle of it. The two ends of the cord were then passed round point butt and shaft near the end of the latter; two turns were so taken that the turns lapped, when, by pulling the two ends the lapped cord gripped the point in position, and the lasher could continue his task unhampered by having to hold the point in position. The two ends of the cord were then passed underneath the shaft in opposite directions, brought up page 163on to the upper part of the shaft, pulled taut, passed round each other, reversed, passed round the shaft again as before, twisted, reversed, and so on. This is an effective mode of lashing that held the point with the grip of a latigo. The uhurangi or straight, parallel binding method was not employed for the above purpose; the kauaerua and aparua crossed-lashings were unsuitable; the ritorangi and pakawau were used for the purpose. Having securely lashed the point on to the shaft, our fowler, if a painstaking man, would procure some vegetable gum and rub it well into his lashing; for this purpose pia tarata, already described, was used, also a somewhat similar exudation from the matai (Podocarpus spicatus).

In vol. 12 of Transactions of the New Zealand Institute Heaphy described a form of bird-spear used by the Atiawa natives of the Wellington district. In the latter part of 1839 he accompanied some of those natives on a fowling expedition to the Belmont hills. He remarks that the spears used were about 12 ft. long; these would be very short for big-tree working. The barbed bone points of these spears were not lashed firmly to the shaft, but merely tied on lightly with a thin thread, so that, when a transfixed bird struggled to escape, the point became detached, remaining in the bird's body. But although the point became detached from its scarf yet it was still connected with the shaft by means of a lanyard secured to the butt-end of the point, hence the bird could not escape, its transfixed body dangled at the end of the lanyard. The spears used are said to have been very slight, only ½ in. in diameter, and the Colonel explains that the struggling of a wounded bird would break the shaft were the whole rigid. Possibly. This was an inferior exhibition of bird-spearing activities, ground-work, though we are told of the fowlers, "sometimes even ascending the lower branches of the trees." Taihoa ra! We will ere long take the offspring of Tu-mataika on the uppermost branches of sky-seeking pines and far spread rātā. This practice of attaching the spear point in such a loose manner was certainly not a Maori custom, it cannot have been more than a usage employed at a few places; in most places I have found natives to be ignorant of the method. In one place only was it remembered forty years ago (1890), so far as I am aware, and that was at Waikanae, but the natives of that place are Atiawa, as were those who ranged the Belmont hills ninety years ago. The late A. Knocks of Otaki informed me that, in his boyhood, he lived at Waikanae, and that, when attending Major Edwards one day in a pigeon-shooting excursion, they saw Wi Parata of Waikanae up a karaka tree spearing pigeons. The point of his spear was loosely attached as described above, and worked in the same way; at the same time the Raukawa people of page 164Otaki, a few miles away, never used the loosely-attached point. Is it possible that this device had been introduced by Europeans. According to Porter the Polynesians of the Marquesas Group used a fish-spear the point of which became detached when a fish was struck, and was attached to the shaft by a lanyard as described. The Indian salmon-spear of Oregon and adjacent states is a similar contrivance.

These long, pliant spears were never carried, they were too-long and limber to be so transported, but it was easy to drag them by grasping one end, the fore end, and so trailing the long shaft behind. As we have seen, these spears were sometimes manipulated from the ground, as when birds were feeding on small trees or shrubs, but their principal use was among the branches of lofty trees, where a long shaft was needed. In many cases a fowler working tree-tops with a spear took his stand on a platform constructed in a suitable place; such platforms are termed kahupapa, kaupapa, pourangi and papanui; they are likewise used by fowlers when taking birds by means of mutu or snare-set perches. So slim and limber are these bird-spears that they could not be used without a rest: the manipulator would advance his spear slowly toward his intended prey, resting it on a branch as he advanced it, and then, when close enough, he made a rapid thrust so as to pierce the breast of the bird. The shaft was then drawn back, and the bird removed from the barbed point; it might or might not be dead, according to where it was pierced. Colenso describes a mode of using a bird-spear in vol. 24 of Transactions of the New Zealand Institute that is by no means clear, that is as to its advantages; the spear-shaft was contained in and worked through small loops secured to the tree, the manipulator being on the ground. As several of such loops were used then the spear point could not be deflected in any direction, and the fowler would have to wait until a bird was obliging enough to place itself immediately in line with the spear.

When birds were feeding on berries of the white pine, miro, and Cordyline they were taken with spear and snares. The kaka was taken by spearing principally on the rata, kowhai, and tawari trees.

Two bird-spears in the Whanganui Museum are good specimens, one of them is about 26 ft. in length, the other somewhat shorter. Few of these interesting implements have been preserved, although numerous in the early days of European settlement. In 1918 a Taranaki surveyor found six barbed bird-spear points in a rock-cleft; these ranged from 6 in. to 10 in. in length. Some years before a greater number was found concealed at Whatatutu, inland of Gisborne.

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In Du Clesmeur's Journal of Marion's voyage we read of the Maori as a fowler: "They use bow-strings as a rule, but, besides these, have a short-spear made out of a fern-branch, at the end of which a fishbone from the tail of the ray or skate is fixed. Thus armed, they glide through the forest as quietly as possible, and surprise the birds as they sit on the branches of the trees." Elsewhere he wrote: "The use of the arrow is unknown to them." But a fern-branch spear! And bow-strings!