Tī Rakau - Traditional Māori Stick Game

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Make your own Rakau (sticks) and learn how to play the traditional Māori Stick Game with at least two people. Lots of people can play - just keep adding pairs to form two long lines!


Magazines (two per person) or short tī rākau sticks
Song sheets
A4 Paper (optional)
Pens (optional)


Many variations of tī rākau (stick games – also known as tītī tōrea, tītī touretua, tītī tourea and poi rākau) were played by both men and women. Players often formed two rows facing each other, then threw and caught rākau (sticks) in time to a chant.

Some games involved seated players throwing rākau to each other. In others the participants stood. There were also games where large groups of players threw sticks, and each participant who dropped a stick was ‘out’. The game continued until only one player was left.

Tī rākau helped warriors to practise hand-eye coordination at speed.

1. Roll up your magazine as tight as you can. Tape around the edges and middle to hold it in place.
2. Make a second stick.
3. You can tape a sheet of white/coloured A4 paper around the magazine roll and decorate them if you want to.
4. The best way to learn is to watch someone else. Check out the You Tube Videos.
5. Create a rhythm by tapping the end of your tī rakau on the ground or tapping your tī rakau together.
6. Face a partner and try tapping your tī rakau at the same time as your partner.
7. Try throwing your tī rakau diagonally to your partner and getting them to do the same at the same time.
8. Play music and tap and throw your tī rakau to the beat.
6. Work out a pattern. Then increase your difficulty or speed as the music progresses. The aim is to keep going for as long as possible without dropping your sticks.



  • Aotearoa
  • Maori
  • Maoritanga
  • New zealand
  • Traditional game

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