Traditionally skills developed while practising Poi Toa based activities were essential training in learning weaponry and fighting techniques.
The Poi has its own whakapapa, which can be traced to Tānemahuta, the ancestral god of the forests and all things living in it. Tānemahuta mated with Hineiterepo (the swamp maiden) and they produced raupō (bulrush). Tānemahuta also mated with Pakoti (Pakoki) and created a superior species of harakeke (flax). Raupō and harakeke are the main traditional sources for making Poi which are used in the game Poi Toa.
*(information sourced from Ngā Taonga Tākaro Māori Sports and Games written by Harko Brown)
**(information sourced from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/waiata-tawhito-traditional-maori-songs/page-2