Traditionally Poi Rākau was a training game for warriors. One person stood in the middle (pūtahi), surrounded by the throwers (tukunga) standing in a circle (wī). The rākau were made from Mako wood and sharpened. They were thrown to the person in the pūtahi. On catching a rākau the warrior threw it at a person in the circle who didn't have a a stick, who then had to catch and throw it on.