“Privileged and honoured to share a bit of Māori culture in the form of Taiaha - a traditional Māori weapon used in combat and as a tool to re-connect us with our ancestors,” he said on Instagram.
“Although I grew up in Aotearoa, I never learned the way of Taiaha. Never would’ve thought I’d be having a crash course in it on an Australian Soap!”
Further echoing this to Stuff New Zealand, Ethan explained that while he knew what Taiaha was growing up, he had never learned it – until now.
“We did a little bit of mau rakau (weapon-based Māori martial arts) at high school, so when the storyline came up, I had to reach out to a few friends and they helped me out,” he told the publication.
In the same interview, Kawa also explained that he too went to others for help, and despite feeling their moves were at “a very basic level,” he’s still proud of the scene.
“We did the best job we could of putting some basic movements into the show but it’s nowhere near what people back home are capable of,” he said.
Kawa added that viewers tend to have a “great response to anything cultural” they do on the show, finding the introduction of something new refreshing.
“As for fellow Māori, I hope we do them justice. There’s probably little nuances that I might have missed, or really highly trained fellas watching it, they might be like, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ Maybe not, hopefully.”
Conscious that for some viewers it will be their first introduction to Māori culture, the two actors went into further detail about the scene over on the Home and Away Instagram page.
Answering some common questions, Ethan explained that while the Taiaha was traditionally used for combat, these days it’s used to “initiate a boy into manhood” and to “ground somebody who’s going through any rough times.”
He added that overall, it took them roughly “15 to 20” hours of training to learn the movements, and Kawa said the process of learning the sequence and putting it on screen was “awesome.”
“It’s always a privilege to share our culture on screen and I’m very grateful that we get to do that and I’m very grateful and thankful for all the positive responses we’ve received,” Ethan added.