Matimati - Taonga Tākaro (Traditional Māori Game)

Game Whakapapa/Atuatanga

A game traditionally used as a training method for Toa (warriors). Helped to read the opponents movements and learn to evade attacks and disguise your attacking movements. This game is called Matimati down in the south Island.

Game description

Is a 1 on 1 activity that can be used as an ice breaking activity by rotating players, or as a warm up for more strenuous games.

Players stand opposite each other at arms length. Both players feet must remain planted at all times and point towards your opponent

The idea is to strike your opponent with an open hand, palms facing upwards, while the opposition tries to evade the attacker.

Like most games there are lots of ways to play mitimiti, the following are some basic versions.

Number of players required

1 - 2 people minimum

Space required

Small area needed where you and your partner can face each other. If bigger group then bigger space.

Game benefits

Evasive skills and reading/anticipating your opponents movement

Equipment required

No equipment required


Level 1 is hit the shoulder, level 2 shoulder and the waist, level 3 shoulder, waist and the knees.

Remember it's more of a tag than a smash! If you hit your opponent hard, then they can get you back!

Each player has 10 attempts to strike the opposing player, if they hit the target they score a point, if they miss, the opponent gets a point.


Another option is to play 30-60 seconds for each person to attack, add up the points from hits and misses to determine the winner.

Depending on the flexibility and fitness of the group most games only progress to level 1, if you get past level 3 you can add blocking and any one can strike at any time.


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