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Hand games play an integral part in the development of physical attributes such as hand and eye coordination. Traditionally, the arts of pleasure were attributed to Raukatauri and Raukatamea. Attributing games and pastimes to legendary characters allowed Māori to explain the origins of these amusements. The period when recreational games and pastimes were mostly played was just after the crops were harvested and stored. During this harvest festival, Māori gave themselves over to Ngā Mahi ā te Rēhia, a te harikoa – the arts of pleasure and of joyfulness.
There are many traditional pastimes which strengthen physical and mental agility. Some examples are Hipitoitoi, Hei tama tū tama and Whakaropiropi ai.
Te reo Māori vocabulary
- hei tama tū tama: a hand game
- hipitoitoi: a hand game
- ngā mahi a te rēhia: games and pastimes
- tākaro ā-ringa: hand games
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