Matoran were a race of biomechanical beings living in the Matoran universe and were the species chiefly responsible for maintaining the colossal robotic body of Mata Nui. As such, Matoran enjoyed special status as workers considered vital to the well-being of Mata Nui, whom they revered as a deity known as the Great Spirit. Matoran lived by the Three Virtues given to them by Mata Nui: Unity, Duty, and Destiny. Matoran inhabited numerous lands throughout the Matoran universe, including Metru Nui, the southern and northern continents, and Artakha.
Matoran were relatively small in stature and designed for labor, not combat. Matoran were divided into several sub-types, or tribes, based on the elemental powers. Although Matoran of most types had no special abilities, each type had attributes that made its members better suited to live in environments associated with its element. In order to function properly, all Matoran needed to wear a Kanohi mask, which acted as a kind of power source. Any Matoran who spent an extended length of time without a Kanohi would lapse into a condition resembling a coma. As Matoran were unable to access abilities granted by Kanohi Masks of Power, they generally wore Kanohi without powers, using them solely for life-sustaining purposes. Members of most Matoran tribes were all of the same gender; most Matoran tribes were male. Given Matoran's biomechanical nature, gender in Matoran was not so much a physical trait as it was a behavioral one.
Matoran were the beginning of the Matoran-Toa-Turaga life cycle. A select few Matoran could, if granted a Toa's power, transform into Toa, champions of justice who protected Matoran, who in turn could transform into Turaga, respected leaders of Matoran communities. Only Matoran who were destined to become Toa could be so transformed.
After Makuta Teridax was defeated and the Matoran universe was irreparably damaged, all Matoran migrated to the surface of Spherus Magna to build a new civilization with the Agori and Glatorian.
The Matoran of Mata Nui lived in six villages, called koro. The villages were spread out in different regions of Mata Nui, and they were all distinct and had very different kinds of buildings as well as customs. Although the Matoran were very loyal to their native villages, all Matoran shared a common dream: to defeat Makuta and live in a land of peace and beauty.1
On Mata Nui, the Matoran loved many sports, and kolhii was by far the most popular.2
As of mid-story year 2004, 1,000 Matoran inhabited Metru Nui.3
On Metru Nui, physical violence between Matoran was almost unheard of, but Matoran with serious disagreements were known to engage in disk dueling.3
Matoran were villagers on Metru Nui, Mata Nui, Voya Nui, Mahri Nui, and elsewhere. There were seven known types of Matoran: Ta-Matoran, Po-Matoran, Onu-Matoran, Le-Matoran, Ko-Matoran, Ga-Matoran, and Av-Matoran. Each type was normally identified by armor and mask coloration. Matoran were the only beings shown to be able to evolve into Toa. Groups of six Matoran, one from each village, were capable of merging into a Matoran Nui.4
The Matoran lived on Metru Nui until they were captured by Makuta and forced into Matoran spheres, where they were thrown into a form of suspended animation. This lasted until they were brought to Mata Nui and awakened by the Toa Metru. Over time, as an after-effect of their time in the spheres, the Matoran's bodies shrank in stature, and they lost all memory of their lives on Metru Nui.4
Matoran wore Kanohi which had no extra powers. However, wearing them was essential for Matoran, as having a mask off for too long could lead to a condition resembling a coma.5
Matoran were granted special status in Mata Nui's eyes.8
Matoran made notoriously poor conquering armies.9
On Metru Nui, the body of a murdered Ta-Matoran was once taken to a slab in Ta-Metru.10
Matoran workers were always among the most important inhabitants of the Matoran universe; without them, the will of Mata Nui could not be carried out.11
The Matoran living on Metru Nui had the means to have new Matoran come into being. This was not possible on the island of Mata Nui.12
Tens of thousands of Matoran lived on the southern continent alone.13
The actual building of the Mata Nui robot was done by nanotech wonders called Matoran, who would one day inhabit the robot and keep it functioning properly.14
Turaga were able to create Matoran as needed. For example, if there were some massive project in a city that required more workers, Turaga could produce them. Makuta also had the ability to create Matoran.15
The purpose of the Matoran was to keep the parts of the Mata Nui robot's body functioning, such as Metru Nui, which served as the brain.16
Before Velika tampered with the Matoran's intelligence, they were sentient, but they did not have access to any kind of emotional programming. They simply did their jobs, and were not building a culture or forging friendships.17
Masks provided Matoran a largely unending power source so they could keep working.18
If a Matoran lost his Kanohi for an extended period of time and slipped into a coma-like condition, simply replacing the Kanohi would wake him up again.19
When new Matoran were created by the machines controlled by the Turaga, they did not come out already wearing a Kanohi, but rather were given one.20
Types of Matoran