Mata Nui, also known as the Great Spirit, was a colossal, spacefaring robotic being maintained from within by a civilization of biomechanical beings living in an artificial world. Mata Nui was originally dispatched from the planet Spherus Magna into outer space on a mission to observe alien civilizations for tens of thousands of years. Afterwards, Mata Nui was to return to his point of origin in order to reverse the effects of a planet-wrecking cataclysm known as the Shattering. While Mata Nui spent millennia observing other worlds, the beings inside him remained unaware that they inhabited an artificial world comprising Mata Nui's body, instead regarding Mata Nui as a kind of protective deity or spirit far removed from their daily affairs. Except in rare cases, Mata Nui remained largely uninvolved in matters inside his body, instead focusing outward on his appointed mission. This neglect allowed Makuta Teridax, a powerful functionary within Mata Nui's body, to conspire for total control of that world, eventually infecting Mata Nui with a powerful virus that caused him to fall into a forced state of sleep. As a result, while returning to Spherus Magna, Mata Nui crash-landed on one of the fragments left behind by that ruined planet and remained unconscious there for a thousand years.
When Mata Nui was later revived by Teridax's opponents using the Mask of Life, Teridax slipped his spirit into Mata Nui's body before Mata Nui's spirit fully returned, thereby allowing him to assume full control over Mata Nui's original body. Teridax imprisoned Mata Nui's spirit inside the Mask of Life and ejected it into outer space, where it eventually crash-landed on Bara Magna, the largest remaining fragment of Spherus Magna. There, the power of the Mask of Life created a new, ordinary body for Mata Nui. Stripped of his former power and desperate to save the beings now held hostage in his original body, Mata Nui aided Bara Magna's local population in repelling a band of invaders known as the Skrall. Armed with new allies, Mata Nui discovered a long-forgotten prototype of his original robotic body and assumed control of it in preparation for his inevitable fight with Makuta Teridax. Despite disadvantages in size and power, Mata Nui defeated Teridax in a monumental fight on the surface of Bara Magna, resulting in Teridax's death. During the course of the battle, the fragments of Spherus Magna were inadvertently reunited, fulfilling Mata Nui and Teridax's destiny of restoring Spherus Magna together. Afterwards, Mata Nui, his consciousness still housed within the Mask of Life, chose to go into dormancy in order to allow civilization on the restored Spherus Magna to take shape without his intervention.
It was understood that Mata Nui created the world. Nokama said that Metru Nui was once the most beautiful place in all of Mata Nui's creation. It was common knowledge in the Matoran universe that Mata Nui was involved in the origin of their world.
Mata Nui was considered the spiritual guardian of Metru Nui.
"The Great Spirit lives through us all." —Turaga Lhikan
Mata Nui was the Great Spirit revered by the Matoran.
According to Matoran legend, Mata Nui was sent from paradise by the Great Beings to care for all living things. After many thousands of years of his benevolent guidance, Mata Nui was struck down by his spirit brother Makuta. This resulted in Mata Nui's sinking into an endless sleep and heralded a time of darkness for the Matoran. Upon Mata Nui's fall, a team of six Toa, the Toa Mata, were dispatched to awaken him.
If Mata Nui were to die, the entire universe would die with him.
The Kanohi Hau was the symbol of the Great Spirit Mata Nui.
The Great Kanohi Hau was traditionally used to symbolize the Great Spirit Mata Nui.
According to Teridax, the Matoran greatly honored Mata Nui while ignoring himself and the other Makuta. Mata Nui was far removed from their lives, keeping the stars in the sky, making the suns rise, all with no idea what his people were up to at any given time.
Makuta Teridax, who had been to the places no one else had ever seen, knew the ultimate truth: that Mata Nui did not rule the universe of the Matoran, but in fact was the universe. The Great Spirit was a vast being of metal, a thing of armored power, within whom dwelled the Toa, Matoran, Makuta, Vortixx, Skakdi, Zyglak, and every other species. The land masses they dwelled upon were but parts of Mata Nui's substance, existing to keep him functioning. They had looked to the heavens for their Great Spirit, when he had truly been all around them.
Robbed of his power and exiled to an alien world, Mata Nui found himself in new danger on Bara Magna. Wearing the Mask of Life and carrying a scarabax shield and spiked Thornax launcher, he had to fight to survive.
On Bara Magna, Mata Nui wore the amazing Mask of Life and carried a scarab shield and Thornax launcher.
On Bara Magna, Mata Nui carried a sword, a scarab shield, a Thornax launcher, and the Mask of Life. Mata Nui once ruled a universe. His robotic body towered 40 million feet in the air and housed an entire civilization. His body was stolen from him, and his mind was trapped inside the Mask of Life. The mask was then rocketed off into space, eventually crash landing on Bara Magna. The power of the Mask of Life created a new body for Mata Nui, one that was only seven feet in height and had no special powers.
In terms of personality, Mata Nui was noble and an idealist, but he also understood the nature of evil and that the only way to stop it was for being who believed in justice to stand up and fight. He had many new experiences on Bara Magna, including making true friends, and he would have been sad if he had to leave them behind.
The Great Beings created Mata Nui and his universe. According to Mata Nui, in his original body, he towered above worlds, had the power to split planets, and was able to travel between worlds at will.
Mata Nui was a robot vehicle constructed by the Great Beings. He was a living colossus who towered 40 million feet high. Inside, the body was filled with nanotech beings the Great Beings had designed to keep the vast mechanism running smoothly. The Great Beings programmed Mata Nui with a mission: to travel to other worlds and observe their cultures, learn from them, so that tragedies like the Core War would not happen again. Then, when the time was right, he was to return to the remains of Spherus Magna and heal the planet's wounds.
During his mission, Mata Nui had seen, from a great distance, entire worlds devastated by war. Mata Nui experienced many new emotions since coming to Bara Magna. The Great Beings had given him the capacity to feel when they created him, but he had always been so far removed from everything around him that he had had no reason to experience emotion. Now he had known fear while facing the Vorox, and anger and hatred when he saw the senseless violence in Tajun at the hands of the Skrall and bone hunters.
Mata Nui's original form was built on the world of Spherus Magna more than 100,000 years ago. He was built to bring order back to his world and its people, but he lost his way. Learning from their mistakes on the earlier giant robot, the Great Beings desperately constructed a new, larger robot. This machine was infused with an intelligence and mission to learn about the universe, and thus Mata Nui awoke as the intelligence of a giant robot. Smaller beings were placed inside of him to maintain the inner workings. Mata Nui's earliest memories were of being activated on Spherus Magna.
Matoran helped to regulate Mata Nui's robotic body so that he did not need to constantly monitor and adjust the systems.
Mata Nui essentially ignored the Toa and Matoran living inside of him, allowing evil like Makuta Teridax to flourish.
Mata Nui was built to reunite the three parts of Spherus Magna back into one.
Mata Nui spent most of his existence exploring other worlds, watching cultures evolve, measuring and analyzing the dance of stars and planets. After a time, he took the beings inside his metal body for granted, ignoring them and their constant squabbles to focus on the outside universe. This neglect would cost him and his small workers endless misery and pain. Inside Mata Nui's body, workers maintained machinery and repaired the damage and fatigue caused over tens of thousands of years. Most, like the Toa and Matoran, were content with their roles. However, the Makuta dreamed of glory and power. Mata Nui's inattention gave them numerous opportunities to scheme and plot.
The robot was given two missions: to find and study other worlds, so that what happened on Spherus Magna would not happen again, and to one day return and make right what had gone so terribly wrong there.
Mata Nui had control over heat, light, and gravity within the Matoran universe.
Mata Nui could create new beings and set the destinies of those beings he created. It is not necessarily true that Mata Nui chose the destinies for those living inside him, only that he knew what they were meant to be.
Mata Nui was a living machine; the beings inside him were the nanotech that helped the machine work. Mata Nui was fully mechanical. He did not need to eat. The Matoran universe extended throughout Mata Nui's whole body. Within the Matoran universe, artificial gravity and stabilizers kept things on an even keel for the Matoran.
Mata Nui traveled to a new planet fairly often. He gathered information from the worlds he visited by means of sensors. He did not send the information he gathered to the Red Star.
Mata Nui normally had yellow eyes. When Teridax took over his body, the eyes turned red.
Once Mata Nui's spirit was imprisoned in the Ignika, Mata Nui's consciousness overrode the Ignika's. Mata Nui could control the Ignika's powers, but Mata Nui's spirit itself basically had no power.[29, 30]
Mata Nui had propulsion to enable him to travel from planet to planet.
Greg: "I basically see Mata Nui as being a ruler of benevolent indifference. He has no negative feelings for his people, no ambitions that would harm them, or any desire NOT to protect them, but he is very hands-off. He's not going to interfere with their lives. Mata Nui, at best, expects the best work the Matoran can do and hopes for their respect. Makuta, on the [other] hand, demands their worship. His rule is self-aggrandizing, totally about his ambitions, and while he too needs the Matoran now, he is not above sacrificing some as an example to the others. He will actively enforce his will in the universe, regardless of the environment that it may create."
When Mata Nui landed on a planet for the purposes of observation, his system created a disguise for his face by creating a rocky surface and then growing plants that looked like the local flora. When it was time for him to leave, the Bohrok cleaned all that plant life off and weakened the surface so it could be cracked open when Mata Nui rose.
Mata Nui did not die as a direct result of the virus, but of the damage of his fall.
Mata Nui's body was able to monitor its inner workings in case of malfunction.
Wherever Mata Nui should have fallen asleep, it was always assumed that Mata Nui would be pulled in to some sort of gravity well, like a planet, so the Toa Mata could then be launched onto his face.
Mata Nui arrived on planets unnoticed if he came down fast enough, leading people to believe he was a meteor or something like that.
Mata Nui was not in search of something in specific when he visited worlds, but was just gathering information.
After his exile, Mata Nui was not considered a Great Spirit, since he no longer had the powers of one.
Mata Nui's mission was not to find more energized protodermis.
Mata Nui was able to speak Agori.
No other giant robotic being like Mata Nui was ever created.
Mata Nui only required the Matoran, not other species, in order to live.
Mata Nui's Glatorian body was not made of protodermis, since it was made of materials of Bara Magna.
In his Glatorian body, at least at first, Mata Nui was not as powerful as Toa Ignika, since he was not familiar with using the mask, whereas Toa Ignika knew all of its powers and how to use them.
Mata Nui always had the ability to speak, but he never did, as there was no one to talk to.
Only the Great Spirit could arbitrarily turn Matoran into Toa. Teridax had the same ability while he possessed the robot, but did not use it.
Mata Nui was never meant to monitor the internals of his body or its inhabitants, but to focus on his mission of observation. That there were internal politics within his body at all was the fault of Velika.
The second robot which the Great Beings planned to build was never built.
Mata Nui's consciousness overrode that of the Kanohi Ignika during his time on Bara Magna.
The twin suns over Metru Nui represented the eyes of Mata Nui. The day-night cycle of Metru Nui was tied to Mata Nui's sleep cycle; Mata Nui was asleep when the suns over Metru Nui were down.
When the Ignika made a body for Mata Nui on Bara Magna, Mata Nui had the physical body of a Glatorian.
The Matoran believed that Mata Nui created everything.
Mata Nui was physically stronger than the Great Beings, but the Great Beings were stronger mentally.
Teridax regarded Mata Nui as his brother even though they weren't equals and weren't biologically siblings. He meant it in the sense that people who do different tasks for the same goal can consider themselves brothers.
Nobody knew whether Mata Nui would view Teridax as a brother because Mata Nui did not speak directly to others.
Mata Nui was not a member of the Order of Mata Nui. The Order was an organization that served the will of a more powerful entity.
Mata Nui was aware of the Order of Mata Nui.
Mata Nui was not bound by the Great Beings to not interfere with the Matoran Universe, he simply chose not to. He was above the inhabitants of the universe and let them work out their own problems.
If Mata Nui died, the universe would die with him.
- In mid-2006, Greg Farshtey speculated that Mata Nui might get a set after he was awake.