MAORI MATERIAL CULTURE
In the autumn when the main harvests of sea, land, and forest had been gathered and stored for winter, the people gave themselves over to a short period of games, amusements, and competitive contests. Elders appear to have entered into the spirit of the various games as eagerly as did the children and vied with each other in kite flying, top spinning, posture dancing, wrestling, dart throwing, memory tests, and the erection of string figures, etc. Children's games included the sailing of flax boats, the use of poi balls, in which women also excelled, skipping, and swimming.
Boys were taught from their youth upwards to acquire dexterity in the use of weapons as well as developing keenness of vision and the attributes of a warrior. Armed with korari (flax flower stalks) they practised the strokes and parries as instructed by adults. Using kakaho (flower stalks of the toetoe) the young people also became adept in the use of the spear and dart.
The Maori expressed himself in songs and melodies of which thousands were known when Europeans arrived. There were many subjects on which songs were founded, such as the yearning of a widow for her husband, and ditties or lullabies for children. Maori songs usually covered a range of not more than one and a half notes; but inside that range there were many half or even quarter tones.