Mu Torere

Mu Torere is a Maori game played in New Zealand on an eight-pointed star-shaped board with a central circle. The center is called the putahi and the star points are called kewai. The Mu Torere board may be marked on the ground. The game is popular with the Ngati Maori people from the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Figure 2: Mu Torere board
Figure 1: Mu Torere board


Each player has four pieces. At the start of the game each player’s pieces are placed on adjacent four points of the star as shown in Figure 1. The object of the game is to block the opponent’s pieces so that they cannot play. The players take turns with black moving first. Three moves are possible in the game:

  1. A piece may be moved along a line directly from one kewai to a vacant adjacent kewai.
  2. A piece may be moved from a kewai to the putahi only if one or both the adjacent kewai is occupied by the opponent’s piece or pieces.
  3. A piece may be moved from the putahi to a vacant kewai.

There are situations that will result in a player being blocked by his opponent. In Figure 2 Black is to move and has the choice of 3-4 or 5-4. The move 5-4 will result in White moving 6-5 which will have Black blocked. Note the V shape formed by White’s pieces on 6, 7 and the putahi. This V shape must not be allowed to split open.