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Contact Info
Lesley Armstrong-Jennings
10 Shoebridge Cres
R D 3 Whangarei 0173
New Zealand

Phone: 64-9-4344659
Fax: 64-9-4344544

Maori designs - their spiritual meaning

The designs used in Maori artwork on sale here at ( necklaces, pendants, wood carvings, tattoo, etc) all carry a spiritual meaning.  Early Maori did not have a written history, so their arts and crafts took on the role of being a record of spiritual values and beliefs, as well as a historical family record. 

Bone and greenstone jade ( pounamu) pendants and necklaces, worn against the skin and passed down through the generations, were believed to absorb the spirit of the person who wore them, making them a powerful connection to people passed.

BNPK09 - Maori Bone Koru Necklace with Carving and Paua Shell  LE04 - Metal NZ Fern Fronds  NW235B - Carved Maori Koru Frond on Stand AG16 - Maori Heart Rimu Wall Panel  BNPT08 - Maori Bone Twist Necklace with Inner Koru  GNPK01 - Genuine NZ Greenstone Koru Necklace PAUB06 - Pretty Paua Koru Bracelet

The Maori Koru design is inspired by the 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, so makes a wonderful gift for a new parent or child, newlyweds, or anyone starting on a new phase of their life.
Type Koru into the Search box (up to the left of the screen) to find all Koru items, including jewellery, flip flops, temporary tattoos, headbands and more. 


Single Twist
BNPT07 - Carved Maori Bone Friendship Twist Necklace  GNPT15 - Genuine NZ Greenstone Single Twist Necklace HKG045 - Small Twist Glass Ornament

A Maori 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.

Type Single Twist into the Search box (up to the left of the screen) to find more Single Twist items. 

Double and Triple Twist

AG30 - Maori Kauri Twist Necklace BNPT05 - Maori Bone Double Twist Necklace with Paua Tail  BNPT17 - Maori Bone Twist Eternity Tattoo Necklace  GNPT14 - Genuine NZ Greenstone Twist Necklace SH10 - Sterling Silver Maori Friendship Twist Charm  AG20 - Frramed Carved Twist

The Double and Triple Twist depict two new shoots growing together - it represents the joining of cultures, the bonding of friendship for life. The design shows the joining of two people in love or friendship for eternity, so makes a wonderful wedding or friendship gift. The Twist can also relate to the joining of two peoples or cultures.
Type Twist into the Search box (upper left hand of page) to see all our Maori Twist items.

Hei Matau (Fish Hook)

The fish hook was an important resource for Maori, as the sea provided a rich source of food. In Maori mythology, New Zealand was fished up out of the sea by Maui.

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.

Type Hook into the Search box (upper left hand of page) to see all our Maori Twist items.


BK073 - Pounamu - Maori Jade of New Zealand  BON001 - Bone Tiki Pendant  AG09 - Maori Kauri Tiki Necklace CHM001 - Maori Tiki charm PAR015 - Plastic Tiki

The Tiki depicts the first mortal born to the Gods. It is also a strong fertility symbol, with the hands on the loins symbolising fertility. The Tiki is a good luck charm, and believed to give the wearer clarity of thought and great inner knowledge.

Type Tiki into the Search box (upper left of page) to find all our Tiki items.


BNPM01 - Maori Bone Small Manaia Pendant   CHM113 - Maori Manaia Charm  PWT015 - Pewter Maori Notched Manaia Pendant MM51 - Maori Manaia Trophy BNPM18 - Delicately Carved Maori Bone Manaia Necklace  GNPM06b - greenstone manaia

The Manaia is a spiritual guardian, a guardian angel, to ward off danger and protect 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 are believed to represent birth, life and death, symbolising the life cycle of man, or alternatively, the Three Baskets of Knowledge (the knowledge mankind needed from the gods, to be able to live successfully on earth).  


Type Manaia into the Search box (upper left of page) to find all our Manaia items.


GNPC02 greenstone circle of life

The closed circle represents the circle of life, and the belief it has no beginning or end. 

Whales and Dolphins

BON03 - Bone Double Whale Tail Necklace  BON01 - Maori Bone Whale Tail Pendant  CA12 - Tohora Whale Tail Mirror or Panel CT61 - Wellington NZ Humpback Whale Ceramic Tile BON07 - Maori Bone Toki Necklace with Dolphin

Whales and dolphins, and in fact all sea creatures and birds, were of huge importance to the Maori as a food and utensil source.  Sea creatures were particularly revered.   The whale is a symbol of great size and intelligence, and carvings of whales appear on some Maori meeting houses or food storehouses. 
Whales and dolphins were believed to help some Maori navigate their way across the South Pacific during the Great Migration.  Thus Whales and Dolphins are symbols of protection, and today this includes protection for travellers on all modes of transport.
The dolphin is also a symbol of friendship and harmony, and of playfulness, as seen in the way they playfully interact with humans swimming or boating in New Zealand waters.  A free spirit.
Type whale or dolphin into the Search box to find all our whale and dolphin items.

Toki (Adze)

BON17 - Maori Bone Toki Necklace with Koru  KT01 - Whale Bone Notched Toki Necklace by Kerry Thompson  GNP04 - Genuine NZ Greenstone Notched Toki Necklace  GNP16 - Greenstone Maori Moko Tattoo Pendant TIK032 - Maori Adze - Toki Pou Tangata

The Toki (adze) was an important Maori implement, used to chip and shave wood and stone, and sometimes used as a weapon.  In bone or greenstone, it was traditionally worn by Maori elders, as it represented power, wisdom and authority.
Type toki into the Search box to find all our Toki, including toki adzes and toki necklaces.

GNP13 Greenstone Roimata Necklace

Roimata means "tear drop", and is a stylised version of the toki, a long slim shape with rounded corners.  The Roimata is a symbol of sadness, so would be given as a gesture of recognition of a person's sadness or loss, and a reassurance that you are there for them and will stand beside them.  Sometimes referred to as the comfort stone.


>maori triple twist carving AG16 - Maori Heart Rimu Wall Panel CA47 - NZ Maori Koru Aluminium Panel PAUH04 - NZ Paua Shell Hair Tie

Kowhaiwhai is the beautiful scroll-like patterns seen on Maori meeting house ridge poles (tahu or tahuhu) and on the rafters (heke).  They are usually painted red, white and black.  These rafter paintings usually depict tribal lineage and thus represent authority by descent. 

Kowhaiwhai was also seen on gourd water vessels, paddles, and the underside of canoe prows.  Nowadays, its incorporation into Maori carvings or art represents the importance and significance of a loving family.

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