Poi Toa - Taonga Tākaro (Traditional Māori Game)
Traditionally skills developed while practising Poi Toa based activities were essential training in learning weaponry and fighting techniques.
The Poi has its own whakapapa, which can be traced to Tānemahuta, the ancestral god of the forests and all things living in it. Tānemahuta mated with Hineiterepo (the swamp maiden) and they produced raupō (bulrush). Tānemahuta also mated with Pakoti (Pakoki) and created a superior species of harakeke (flax). Raupō and harakeke are the main traditional sources for making Poi which are used in the game Poi Toa.
*(information sourced from Ngā Taonga Tākaro Māori Sports and Games written by Harko Brown)
**(information sourced from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/waiata-tawhito-traditional-maori-songs/page-2
Poi Toa is the umbrella term used to describe any Tākaro where Poi Toa were utilised. Poi Toa were used by men to develop a range of skills as well as strength and conditioning needed for weaponry such as taiaha and patu. Typically Poi Toa were made from harakeke (flax) and raupo (bullrush), sometimes they were filled with rocks and thrown at Toa who would practice evading them.
NOTE: There is a different tikanga (value) around the use of Poi Toa. These Poi are designed to throw, pass, or kick. For safety reasons please use Poi Toa in a safe manner to avoid injury.
Also, these should not be confused or used the same as performance Poi for example which are used in Kapa Haka. Each has its own place as well as tikanga attached.
Number of players required
2 players minimum
Improve skills around coordination, spinning, passing and handling of the Poi Toa and keeping the Poi in motion.
Bibs or rippah tags for team I.D
Poi Toa must remain in motion
No throwing the spinning Poi Toa to deliberately hit your opponent above the waist
Can have multiple variations
Always be conscious of the force used when throwing the Poi Toa to or at others
As said earlier Poi Toa is the umbrella term used to describe any game where a Poi Toa is used. The following activities can be used as warm up games:
Basic passing: Passing of a spinning Poi between two or more players, catching by the Aho (rope part of the Poi).
Evasive (Dodging): one person in the middle of the circle, that person has to dodge the swinging Poi being thrown at them. If the person in the middle catches the Poi by the Aho (the tail of the Poi) without it touching the ground they change places with the thrower of the Poi and so on.