Way of the warrior
Mere pounamu (nephrite weapon),
1500-1820, Maker unknown, New Zealand. Te Papa
This weapon is a Māori patu – a short-handled weapon with a broad blade and a striking edge. A warrior who wielded a patu with a skilled hand and fast footwork could kill their opponent with one lightning-speed blow.
The mere pounamu is the most prestigious patu. Made from New Zealand greenstone – a particularly strong and durable stone – it is a symbol of authority as well as an effective weapon.
Striking an opponent’s attacking arm with a mere would often leave them disabled and unable to protect themselves. The execution of a high-ranking chief was preferably delivered by a blow to the temple, the weakest part of the skull.