Māori weaponry "10 Hit Challenge" self-isolation challenge

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The 10 Hit Wero Challenge features Māori men and women from all over Aotearoa who have answered the call to show their skills and inspire others during national self-isolation.

Taiaha is a key component of traditional Māori weaponry that was utilised in times of tribal conflict between iwi and against the Crown.

Today, the Māori art of taiaha (long fighting staff) is taught, among many other disciplines, throughout Aotearoa and internationally in 'para whakawai' (schools of Māori weaponry).

The survival and renaissance of this art from around the 1960s through to the 1980s onwards can be attributed to the likes of the late Irirangi Tiakiawa, Sir Pita Sharples, the late John Rangihau, the late Matiu Mareikura and the late Mita Mohi, among many others. 

Individual demonstrations of weaponry are often performed during ‘wero’, the ritual challenge to a party of visitors. These demonstrations also occur during kapa haka performances.

Taking-off on social media, the 10 hit wero challenge shows that the art form is well and truly alive in a contemporary setting, and being embraced by a new generation of enthusiasts. 

The challenge was put forward by Eds Eramiha of Ngāpuhi who is an experienced practitioner of Māori performing arts, an accomplished actor and a fitness trainer.

Eramiha says the idea is about showcasing Māori weaponry and spreading positivity during the current circumstances of COVID19. It encourages people to participate by showing a ten-hit combination with any stick, with an option to add an additional 'flurry' or combination of moves. 

Showing the boys how it's done are Renata Curtis of the 2020 Te Arawa Kapa Haka Regional champion group Te Pikikōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai, and Rosie Belive, a seasoned performer of the legendary Te Mātārae i Ōrehu

Of all self-isolation social media challenges circulating the internet, this is perhaps the most impressive.

The creativity, the imagination, the performance, the level of skill and the execution are seldom seen in social media challenges.

Eramiha is encouraging more Māori to get on board and showcase their passion for their culture through Māori weaponry and suggests that there may be a new challenge to come.