Maori Carvings: Meanings of our popular designs

Maori Carvings: Meanings of our popular designs

2nd Sep 2019

Greenstone carvings are unique and special New Zealand gifts. The traditional Maori designs are not just lovely to look at, but carry special significance and meaning. We thank the Auckland museum for providing these interpretations of the more popular designs.

Hei Matau - Fish Hook
Fish Hooks symbolize determination, strength, provision and safe travel over water. The wearer provides friendship, support in time of need and love. As a result prosperity ensues.

Hei Matau pendant

Koru - The Unfolding Fern Frond
The Koru is a symbol of new growth, new beginnings, new life, peace and tranquility. New growth and new life reflect the life cycle, and peace and tranquility.
Koru Pendant

Toki - Adze
The toki symbolizes strength and courage. It was originally used as a carving tool, and is now considered taonga, a treasure that is handed down through the family.
Toki Pendant

Manaia - The Guardian Spirit
The Manaia is a spiritual guardian and the carrier of supernatural powers. Traditionally depicted with the head of a bird, the body of a man, and the tail of a fish, Te Manaia represents the sky, earth, and sea, and the balance between them.

Hei Tiki
The Hey Tiki is the Maori representation of the human form as a pendant. Hei meaning neck ornament and Tiki meaning human. The wearer of the Hei Tiki is assumed to be clear thinking, perceptive loyal and knowledgeable.