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Culture & Heritage

Poi kia mau - get ready!

If you’re heading to a sporting event in New Zealand, you’ll see poi used as a symbol of empowerment for wāhine, and a way of celebrating and showing support for athletes.

Building upon the excitement of world cups and the stages of the Te Matatini Festival, Poi Tukua is a national movement encouraging the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and our manuhiri (international visitors) to karawhiua (give it heaps) and give poi a go!

The origins and whakapapa of poi trace back to Raupō and Harakeke who descend from Tāne (the god of the forest), who is born of Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother). Poi was used, many years ago by Māori to increase their flexibility and strength in their hands and arms, as well as improving coordination. These days, poi is a key component of any kapa haka (Māori performing arts) performance from young children to adults.

The phrase, Poi Tukua, was aptly coined by Māori language academic, Sir Tīmoti Karetu, to send poi beyond Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). Poi Tukua is all about cherishing and respecting poi, while also having fun.

Join the movement to nurture the journey of poi and grow its legacy as it takes flight once again.

Kia kaha tātou mā (be strong and brave), give it a go!

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