A History of
POI in New Zealand- by Daisy Hemana
Tena koe to you,
am a Maori lady who lives in Wellington NZ. I am of Ngati Whatua descsent
(primarily). Although I am in my early 60s this is considered not too
old by our standards. However we have passed on our tribal knowledge of
poi from our traditional sources based from Auckland and further northland.
I was interested to read your history of poi from other tribal sources
We have a similar history from
our tribe. We pass on through oure korero (or talk) of the poi genealogy
as having started with our gods creation, then through the use of flax
made bags to carry a moa egg.
We call these bags kii. These carrying
bags called kii were later used by our fighting warriors in training.
The method was to put a large stone in the kii bag and swing this around
to make the arms and wrists supple and strong and to test reactions. The
kii bags made of flax had short ropes but when the warriors and boys trained
with them they would put on extra lengths of rope.
We have a Maori game which is not
much known today which uses just the kii bag so it is like a ball. This
ball is called a kii. We use light stuffing inside of it, feathers or
wool or clothing even. Long ago the stuffing would have been dog fur or
feathers or plant fibres. When the moa birds died out the original kii
bags were not needed because no other bird in our country has such a big
egg. The kii were just used in our game and in training and the trainer
kii became known as kiitoa or today as poitoa.
Later on the poitoa was used in
action songs and this has become simply POI. So in order came the flax
kii bag which had flax rope attachment for carrying moa eggs and a bit
later this rope was removed so that the kii was used like a ball in a
game and for trainers some extra long rope would be added and a stone
within the bag.
Much later the kiitoa became POI
that are seen much today.
I needed to let you know how we
view the POI history. AS Maori people We are not the same across the whole
country, we have our own unique genealogies in not only our lives but
also our implements and poi. Thankyou for this way of letting me tell
Arohamai, Daisy Hemana
© 2003, Daisy
Hemana , New Zealand
See also: Other History articles