Monthly Archives: July 2010

What is Poi?

Take a tennis ball and tie a string around it. Hold the other end of the string in your hand (or loop it around a finger) and spin the tennis ball around you in circles. Now make a second and put that in your other hand and spin both at the same time. Now you’ve officially tried modern poi. Congrats!

Poi is a performance art created by the Māori of New Zealand. The word ‘poi’ is Māori for ‘ball,’ and while there are many Māori words related to poi, I don’t think the typical poi hobbyist knows more than just ‘poi’ (though I personally would love to be part of a kapa haka). The Māori of New Zealand also were not the only ones to come up with a “ball on a string” idea. Look at things like Bola, Indian Clubs and Chinese Meteors. Yet the word poi is Māori, and though modern poi is drastically different from traditional Māori poi, much of the ‘poi heritage’ resides with the Māori. Read the rest of this entry

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