Poi Rākau - Taonga Tākaro (Traditional Māori Game)

Game Whakapapa/Atuatanga

Traditionally Poi Rākau was a training game for warriors. One person stood in the middle (pūtahi), surrounded by the throwers (tukunga) standing in a circle (wī). The rākau were made from Mako wood and sharpened. They were thrown to the person in the pūtahi. On catching a rākau the warrior threw it at a person in the circle who didn't have a a stick, who then had to catch and throw it on.

Game description

Small group cooperation game using rākau passing to improve hand eye coordination. Pass and catch.

Pass the rākau with out dropping it or hitting other players.

Number of players required

2 people minimum

Space required

Small area can be played indoors as well as outdoors

Equipment required


Game benefits

Traditionally this game helped developed skills when using a rākau or Taiaha. 

improving hand eye coordination and also increasing confidence around rākau.


1 person in the middle (putahi) of the group passes out to the circle.

If the (putahi) person passes with their right hand, then the catcher must catch with their left hand and pass to the next person on their left, that person passes back to the middle.

Other actions can be added, such as leg lifts or head tilts and the catcher must copy Noises can also be added Jumping actions or clapping before the catch.


Maui/Matou; rākau placed standing up on the ground. The players leave their rākau and move quickly to the left or right trying to catch the rākau before it touches the ground.

A player can be eliminated if they don't catch the next rākau or make a bad pass (where the other player has NO chance of getting to the rākau befor it hits the ground).

Can also be used as a team building activity where you try to get all people catching or a certain amount of catches.


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