TRADITION & SYMBOLISM
GUIDE TO SHAPES & MEANINGS
Guide, Protect, Communicate
The Manaia is a spiritual guardian that wards off danger and protects against intruders. It acts as a provider and protector over the sky, earth and sea.
The Manaia has a bird-like head, symbolising flight of the spirit. Its three fingers represent birth, life and death, symbolising the life cycle of man and Three Baskets of Knowledge (the knowledge mankind needed from the gods, to be able to live successfully on earth).
Courage, Wisdom, Authority
The toki (Adze)
Toki were originally a practical tool employed in axes, chisels and weaponry. They were also used in toki poutangata, a purely ceremonial taonga (treasures) wielded by the leader in the tribe with the most importance. In bone or greenstone, it was traditionally worn by Maori elders, as it represented power, wisdom and authority.
Prosperity, Abundance, Fertility
Hei Matau (fish hook)
Legend has it that New Zealand was once a huge fish that was caught by the great mariner Maui using a line of woven plant fibre and a bone hook - so the hook, or matau, is central to our Islands.
The fish hook signifies abundance and plenty, strength and determination. It is believed to bring peace, prosperity and good health. It is a device for catching good luck and energy, and is believed to provide safe journey over water. It is therefore considered a good luck charm by travellers, boaties, fishermen and surfers.
Rebirth, Purity, Peace
The Koru design is inspired by a New Zealand fern frond unfurling as it grows. It represents peace, tranquility, personal growth, positive change and awakening. It is associated with new life and harmony.
Fertility, Fortune, Creation
Tiki translates as hei (suspend, around the neck) and tiki (man).
Tiki depicts the first mortal born to the Gods. The hands on the loins symbolising fertility. Tiki was respected as the teacher of all things and the wearer of this symbol is seen to possess clarity of thought, loyalty, great inner knowledge and strength of character. Tiki is also believed to bring good luck and keep evil spirits away.
In some Maori tribes, hei-tiki were buried when their guardian died, and would later be retrieved and handed to the next generation to be worn. This is how the mana (importance) of the tiki increased and increases.
Friendship, Knowledge, Love
The Double and Triple Twist depict two new shoots growing together - symbolizing the joining of cultures, families, the bonding of love and friendship for life. The entanglement has no beginning or end which refers to an eternal bond between two autonomous entities.
The Pikorua symbolizes the strength and beauty of enduring friendship and interwoven lives. It is inspired by the symbols of life and growth.
Because the pikorua stands for infinite partnership, it makes it a perfect gift for lovers, newlyweds, fiancees, or others who want to emphasize their connection, their love for each other, their loyalty and friendship.
A Single Twist symbolises the path of life. It is believed to have been based on Maori kete basket weaving. The path of life takes many twists and turns but carries on regardless. In the case of the Single Twist, the design means the path of life and can be called the Maori Eternity Symbol. It is also considered to be the symbol of undying love between two people.