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The Coming of the Maori

The Sling

The Sling

The absence of the sling in New Zealand is somewhat surprising because it was present throughout Polynesia and was much in use as a projectile weapon in the Society and Cook Islands. At least, the settlers of the Fleet period must have been acquainted with it in their homeland and the fact that some sling stones now in the Auckland Museum were discovered in the Kermadec Islands not only supports the traditional stories of the Aotea and Kurahaupo touching at Rangitahua, but it also indicates that they brought the sling with them. It must have been abandoned early if used locally for it apparently did not function long enough to kill someone of sufficient importance to merit mention in tribal history. The specialization in clubs and the frequent challenges to single combat indicate that interest was directed towards close hand-to-hand fighting and hence a method of long-distance killing was likely to become ignored, forgotten, and lost.