Frequently Asked Questions

Poi is a weight on the end of a flexible cord, which you swing in circular patterns around your body. Both poi the object, and how you move with that object, can take on many different forms and styles. For more information on the origins of poi and how it is used today, click here.

If you are in the Auckland area, SpinPoi has a variety of practice poi for sale. Click here to view our stock.

There are also lots of places to buy poi online, but I recommend www.homeofpoi.com. Use the code “katespinpoi” at checkout for a 15% discount!


Yes it’s easy! Find a pair of knee high socks, put some rice in a bag or balloon, throw the rice into the sock and you’re done! You can tie a knot on the end to hold on to, and also tie knots along the way to make the sock shorter.

There are people teaching poi all over the world, and lots of great online resources too. Check out this map for poi jams in your area, or try some of the tutorials on playpoi.com.

Kate’s full dissertation is online here. Also feel free to get in touch with her at kate@spinpoi.com, or visit the contact page for mailing lists and more information.

There is a real lack of rigorous research on any aspect of Māori or International Poi (looking for a side project or a career change? Consider poi research! There is SO much to be explored!). Below are a few sources which might be of interest. 

Examining the Impact of Poi-spinning on the Development of Self-regulation in Children and Adolescents
A study by Lori Sirs which examines the effects of poi on self-regulation (the ability to control our behavior, emotions, or thoughts) and therapeutic alliance (the relationship between a health care professional and a patient).

Parametric Equations at the Circus: Trochoids and Poi Flowers
An article by Eleanor Farrington about the mathematics behind poi, focused on flowers (a family of poi moves) and the transitions between them, which are naturally described by parametric equations.

Poia mai taku poi – A history of poi: A critical review of written literature on the poi in New Zealand and the Pacific
Written by New Zealand scholar Karyn Paringatai, this book is a review of written literature on Māori Poi.

The Rhythm and Life of Poi
A memoir by Māori poi exponent Ngāmoni Huata, which covers a variety of topics such as the spiritual heritage of poi, preparing poi, and poi in performance.

Yes, probably! But alas, SpinPoi is only one woman, and there are only so many hours in the day. If you’ve got an idea for something to research, give it a go! You do not need to have any specific knowledge or background to do research (Kate conducted a large clinical trial with a background circus/art, and zero experience conducting scientific research. If she can do it, you can do it!). Just write out a plan. What do you want to study (for example, the effects of poi on depression)? Who do you want to study (for example, 15 – 20 year olds)? How do you want to measure it (for example, administer a survey before and after poi lessons)? While there isn’t much research on poi, there are probably studies which have investigated a similar question to yours and a different intervention (for example Tai Chi, dance, juggling)…base your research on these studies, don’t reinvent the wheel! 

Go for it! Short on money? Don’t have a space? New to poi? No problem!

There are tons of online tutorials which are not only great for learning poi yourself, but for learning how to teach poi (look up tutorials by Nick Woolsey or Ben Drexler, they are excellent teachers). While socks and rice make great starter poi, so many other materials can be used….get creative, use what you’ve got! You can always incorporate making poi into the lessons, and ask students to bring their own materials. If you don’t have a space, keep your eye out for public spaces that might work. If it’s nice out a park is always great, or in the winter look for covered or semi-indoor spaces like atriums of shopping plazas or universities.

Another approach is to team up with a local community center, retirement village, after school program, etc. I’d suggest writing them an email that explains what poi is and some of the health benefits (feel free to include a link to this video which basically summarizes all of that). Let them know why poi is great, and why it will be great at their organization. If you don’t hear back (or even if you do!) follow up the email with a phone call or in person visit. Don’t be discouraged if no one bites. Try lots of places, be persistent! It only takes one interested place/person to make it happen.