Poi Piu

Poi piu are simple poi made from the hardened and curled piupiu strands of flax. Existing examples in museums date back to the early 1900’s. No doubt they served a function, as did all poi. Probably the musicality is what appeals to me the most as opposed to the form and design. However in saying that, as with the poi tāniko, these too can be stepped on and given some embellishment.

My first series of poi piu emerged in 2005. These were fairly close to the original in shape and form. They were also quite lethal in that they were very heavy and one had to be careful not to knock someone out with them. One person even described them as ‘man’ poi, because they were big, heavy and chunky looking. However, having refined the shape, form and design, they are now safe to swing and looking a little more elegant. In 2008 the ‘Ngutukākā’ series emerged featuring medium sized and miniature sized poi piu. The miniature sized poi piu ‘Ngutukākā Ririki’ are perhaps the best examples of how delicate poi piu can be.

Poi Piu
Karl Leonard, Master Weaver, Aotearoa, New Zealand

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