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No. 27 (June 1959)
– 64 –

We continue in this issue the essay by Tuta Nihoniho on Maori methods of bush warfare. In the previous instalment the author discussed the preparations and the omens of ancient Maori war campaigns; here he concentrates on battle tactics. The essay is presented entirely as it was first printed in 1913, translated and edited by Elsdon Best.


Fifth subject for consideration: When you go to the wars, on the day you start from your home abide firmly by the following items: First, let food for the journey be carefully cooked: if it turns out to be thoroughly cooked, it is a good omen; if undercooked, it is unlucky, an evil omen: think it over, consider the matter. Secondly, be discreet in your behaviour, be not irascible or prone to murmur, interfere not with others, or speak harshly to them. Have nothing to do with any undesirable or evil act, lest such afflict you when in action. Sufficient for you be tractability and a comely demeanour, also obedience to all directions in regard to the fighting, a cleaving of the heart to God that he may assist and protect you in the time of trouble.

When you are marching in a body to war, do not march in solid column (better to move in open order, and not in the foolish manner adopted by European troops), but have scouts out ahead and in the rear. And let the scouts in front have two kiore out ahead of them to search the forest, and gullies, and rocks for your enemies. See that those kiore do not keep together, but let one be five or six chains in advance of the other, lest both of the kiore (rats) be captured (5). Because those kiore are persons who have been handed over to death (i.e., have been assigned most dangerous duty) they were separated, so that if one of them be captured the other escapes to convey the news to the toro (scouts) behind and to the main body. Or, if one of them escapes capture, is fired on by the enemy and slain, the shots will be heard by the scouts behind and by the main body, who