A Kanohi is sometimes created when a Kanoka disk is carved into a mask. The kind of power a Kanohi will grant depends on the Kanoka used to create it. Kanohi are separated into five groups:
Matoran Mask: A Kanohi with no powers at all, created from a Kanoka Disk at level six or lower
Noble Mask: A Kanohi with weak powers, created from level seven Kanoka Disks
Great Mask : A Kanohi with strong powers that is created with level eight Kanoka Disks
Nuva Mask: A Kanohi with stronger powers than that of a Great Mask that can be shared with others nearby, created when a Great Mask is dipped in energized protodermis.
Legendary Mask: A Kanohi that contains power over a fundamental force of the universe, usually created though special means.
In order to use a Kanohi, the one one who wears it must have a great deal of mental discipline. The kind of power a Kanohi can grant depends on the shape, and the color of a Noble, Great, and Nuva mask will change to suit whoever wears it (a Matoran mask is painted).
When the Toa Metru first came into existence, they had a tough time learning how to activate their mask powers. When the Toa Metru were mutated into Toa Hordika, their masks were fused to their faces and they could not activate their powers.
When the Toa Metru came to the island of Mata Nui the second time, they brought thirty Great Kanohi (five Haus, five Kaukau, five Pakari, five Miru, five Akaku, and five Kakama) with them for the heroes who would come after them. Using his Kraata to infect powerless masks which he used to control the Rahi that lived on Mata Nui, Teridax had his Rahi steal the Great Kanohi and hid them all over the island. When the Toa Mata arrived on the island, they were able to collect all the Great Kanohi and merged them together in order to create Golden Kanohi, Kanohi that had all the powers of the six Kanohi that they collected. When the Toa Mata were turned into Toa Nuva, their Golden Kanohi were transformed into Kanohi Nuva (the Kanohi Nuva that they were given depended on the Kanohi that they wore most of the time). Sometime after the Toa Mata became Toa Nuva, Turaga Vakama gave Tahu Nuva the Legendary Kanohi Mask of Time, which Tahu Nuva used in an attempt to stop the Bohrok-Kal.
When the Matoran who would become the Toa Inika were transformed, the masks they were wearing became Great Masks, and as a result of their unusual transformation, the Kanohi of the Toa Inika were organic and alive, which allowed the Toa Ignika to easily access their mask powers. Eventually, those Kanohi would turn into regular Great Kanohi when the Toa Inika were transformed into Toa Mahri.
The chart below will show the different kinds of Kanohi, their powers and how they impacted Bionicle. Kanohi names with a * next to them means that their power can be found in the Powers & Battle Rankings chart in the exact order that they are put. Kanohi names without a * will have their powers listed below the chart.
| Hau|| || Shielding- |
the one who
wears it from
|Mostly worn by Tahu|
| Kaukau|| || Water Breathing- |
allows wearer to
| Mostly worn by Gali|
| Pakari|| || Strength- grants |
| Mostly worn by Onua|
| Miru|| || Levitation- |
float or glide
| Mostly worn by Lewa|
| Akaku|| || X-ray Vision- |
lets wearer see
| Mostly worn by Kopaka|
| Kakama|| || Speed- grants |
user the ability
to run at
| Mostly worn by Pohatu|
| Huna|| || |
| Rau|| || |
| Ruru|| || |