MAORI MATERIAL CULTURE
The last great phase resulting in the introduction of new culture elements were the adventurous voyages southward of groups of Polynesians from the central Pacific, in or about A.D. 1350. This settlement ushered in the Classic period of Maori culture. Well-known canoes associated with this period were Te Arawa, Tainui, Mataatua, Kurahaupo, Tokomaru, Takitimu, Aotea, and Horouta. It is evident that virile strains of Polynesians appeared on the scene from this time. The pa or hill fort became well established and new weapons of war were evolved. Agriculture gradually developed as well as religious conceptions and cultural activities.
It is likely that the coming of the “Fleet” ushered in a new era by the introduction of food plants. These were the kumara (Ipomoea batatas), the taro (Colocasia antiquorum), the uhi or yam (Dioscorea sp.), and the hue or gourd (Laginaria vulgaris). Most esteemed was the kumara which once grew as far south as Kaiapoi in the South Island. Cultivated foods came under the rulership of the god Rongo whose emblem was placed in fields with the growing crops, all work being undertaken under the direction of a tohunga (priest). Digging sticks (ko), spades (kaheru), and weeders (ketu) were the main tools used in cultivating the ground.
Adzes of the Classic Maori period are remarkable in being polished over the whole surface and having no grip or tang. The section is quadrangular. This is the usual position; but a small number are oval in section, while greenstone or stone adze types used as chisels are often circular in section. Greenstone ornaments of varying types also appeared. Ornamental combs were used in the hair and new types of fish hooks were developed.