In Māori tradition, the Maero (or Mohoao) are wild, violent men with long, bony fingers and long, dirty hair. They killed their prey with long, sharp fingernails and then ate them. The Maero were arboreal, hiding in the forests since the Māori arrived from Hawaiki and ruined the tapu (sacredness) of their homes. In a story from the Whanganui area, Tukoio, a mortal man, once found a maero and attacked it, cutting off its arms, legs and head. He brought the head back, but it was still alive and called for help. Tukoio did not want to fight a whole clan of maero, so he dropped it and came back later with reinforcements, but the maero had put itself back together and returned to the forest.
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