Meaning of Maori Symbols & Designs
Maori Culture has historically been oral. This means we had no written language to pass on our cultural heritage. As a result carvings and other art forms flourished as a means to pass on ancestory, major historic events, beliefs, legends and other cultural elements. This is why Maori Symbols form a major part of our identity & our culture.
It is believed that a carving which is worn with respect or given and received with love, takes on part of the spirit of those who wear or handle it. In this way it becomes a spiritual link between people spanning time and distance. A carving that has been worn by family or tribal members over many generations contains the spirit of all of those people and is truly a great and powerful treasure.
According to legends Tiki was the first man on Earth who originated from the stars. The first mortal person who created the first woman after his image.
Stands for fertility & good luck, protection from evil spirits. Represents the Maori God Tiki who was considered responsible for the creation of life.
Koru is the Maori word for "bight" or "loop" and refers to the new shoots of the silver fern, The spiral shaped koru is derived from an unfolding silver fern frond. The circular movements towards an inner coil refers to 'going back to the beginning'. The unfurling frond itself is symbolic for new life, hope, perfection, rebirth, a new start, awakening, personal growth, purity, nuturing, a new phase in life, the spirit of rejuvenation and peace.
Originally Maori have been fisherman. One of our main food source was the sea, so a fish hook of high quality was a very valuable item to own. Worn around the neck the hook became a symbol of prosperity, abundance, good health, power, authority & repect for the sea & life in it. It also represents good luck & safe journey & safety while travelling over water.
Symbolises the strength of the bond between two people. It signifies the spiritual merger of two people for eternity. The Pikorua ia a powerful statement of loyalty, friendship & love.
Double & Triple Pikorua, also an eternity symbol, refers to the bond between peoples or cultures rather than just individuals. Tradionally given as an offering of friendship between two different tribes. Also refered to 'three baskets of knowledge', the necessary knowledge to survive. According to legend the God Tane (creator of the the first man Tiki) bought down three baskets from the heavens.
Maori guardian angel, the unseen light surrounding each individual, protection from evil, has the head of a bird, the body of a man, and the tail of a fish, representing the balance between sky, earth and water.
Each shape also has additional meanings relating to the wearer.
- Long Slender Drops (Kuru): Helps encourage knowledge, confidence and independence.
- Squares and Rectangles: A guide or mentor bringing a solid grounding and reliability to others.
- Teardrops and ovals (Roimata): Positive energy, healing and comfort.
- Short Drops: Strength, confidence, loyalty and pride.
- Triangle: Representing independence, creativity and spiritual clarity.