Link to Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa website

A bit about us

Maramara Tōtara teaches the Māori fighting art of Mau Taiaha (also known as Mau Rākau), the group was founded in early 2003 by Kateia Burrows and originated because of the increasing interest in learning the use of Taiaha.

There are 8 levels, the highest level can be achieved with continuous training over a ten year period. In September 2003, June 2004, July 2005 and July 2013, graders from the National school came from Auckland to London to grade members of Maramara Tōtara.

In November 2006, members graded on an ancient battle ground near Honolulu in Hawai'i.

In December 2007, members graded in Takapau, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

In November 2013, 4 members travelled to Takapau, Hawkes Bay, NZ to take part in the school's 30th Anniversary celebrations.

To date more than fifty people have successfully graded through Maramara Tōtara. Current members hold grades from akonga (beginner) to pouwha (grade four).

Want to know more?

  • Who can learn?
    The school teaches men, women and children of any age and ethnic background. (Please note that all participants are required to complete a health form).
  • When is training?
    >> more about this.
  • Can I come along to see what it's like?
    Certainly, we encourage you to come and check it out, see if it's something you want to do.
  • What is the cost?
    £20 per month (paid in advance) or £5 per session.
  • Do I need to have any experience?
    No. Participants do not need to have any knowledge or previous use of a taiaha.
  • What if I donít have a taiaha?
    You wonít need one to begin with. We will provide you with a training rākau (stick).
  • Do I need to speak Māori?
    No you don't need to, but learning Māori is encouraged, Māori language lessons are available (see top right) >> more about this.
  • Will I get hurt?
    Accurate execution of strikes and blocks are taught over 6 months. Contact sparring is not used until these strikes and blocks are learnt. All training rākau are padded and we encourage participants to use padded gloves.

History of Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa

Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa, the National School of Ancient Māori Weaponry of New Zealand, was founded in the 1980ís by Dr Pita Sharples.

The purpose of the school is to ensure that this traditional art of weaponry is not lost and is passed onto future generations. This is achieved by providing an innovative programme in physical fitness that encompasses Māori language, history, cultural values, Māori Atua, whakapapa, haka, karakia, waiata, and respect for all uses of Māori weaponry. It also promotes healthy lifestyles.

The ancient art of Māori Weaponry can be traced back to the time when Ranginui and Papatuanuku were separated and their children were at war with each other from which all ancient fighting can be traced. Tumatauenga received many of his names from his fierceness in battle and fighting hence becoming the God of War.

Te Whare Tū Taua was one of many ancient learning schools where the art of war was preserved and taught for over 1000 years through out all Iwi (tribes) and Hapu (subtribes) specialising in all aspects of warfare and weaponry.

If you're interested, please contact us


Award In Recognition of Providing Mau Taiaha Training in London

Maramara Tōtara were awarded this taonga at the 30th Anniversary celebrations of Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa in Waipukurau on November 30 2013.

We have provided mau taiaha training in London for over 10 years.

Each of the coloured headbands (tīpare) represent a level in mau rākau, from Papatuanuku (brown - Mother Earth) at the bottom, to Tumatauenga (red - God of War) at the top. The branches in Hawai'i and Australia also received a taonga.

Kii Mai Waiata Tawhito

Use this audio player to listen to the waiata that we teach:

Some information about this waiata tawhito: "There's a lot of Māori history in this, Ngātoro-i-rangi raised a huge whirlpool called Te korokoro o te Parata, people & boats got sucked in and disappeared, while in this predicament they chanted this waiata, it takes you through the process of appealing to the gods then through your journey you go into the depths of darkness and then you come out again. Its like any journey that goes through difficulties, down, up, down to the bottom and then you start coming up to a moment of realisation learning new things along the way, they chanted this whilst they were in hui (meetings), its used often in hui around NZ, mainly in Taranaki area where they still sing it in similar situations where they've gone through difficult times they come out the other side after they met together and they've gone through these difficulties they've come out the other side. They also sing it on the way to Parihaka , in the old days 1890 to mid 20th century, on 18 & 19th of every month they would walk from their maraes to Parihaka, they would spend 2 days there and celebrate the prophets from the 2 maraes at Parihaka - Te Whiti on 18th & Tohu on 19th".

Thanks to Karl Burrows for this information.