The story of the toki begins with a tool. Maori lashed toki to wooden shafts or held it in their hands to perform daily tasks like shaping wooden items or cutting foliage. As time passed some carvers began shaping much finer toki which were lashed to intricately carved shafts, these were known as toki poutangata. They were purely ceremonial taonga wielded by the most valued or sacred of the tribe, those with the most mana. Wearing a toki is said to represent strength and courage because the jade toki were carved from was strong and only tribesmen with the most mana (power) or strength wielded the toki poutangata.