Made in the highly valued pounamu stone for traditional close-quarter combat, mere were the most revered of all Maori weapons. They are highly collectable today, with these selling well over estimate at bids of £9600 and £12,500 to buyers using thesaleroom.com.
Both came for sale from the Weller-Poley family of Boxted Hall in Suffolk, descendants of George Weller- Poley (1783-1849), an adventurer who visited New Zealand in the 1820s.
He brought back a number of Maori artefacts including the preserved head of a warrior or mokomokai that caused an international incident when offered for sale at Bonhams in 1988.
At the eleventh hour the consignor Nancy Weller-Poller agreed to withdraw the head and deliver it to New Zealand authorities – receiving in exchange a contemporary Maori greenstone mere as a token of thanks. It too was offered at the Colchester sale but it was passed at its estimate of £2000-3000.
The sale took place on June 30.