Meaning included in traditional bone carving design of Maori
| FISH HOOK
To wear a Fish Hook shows to be witty, friendly, strong willed, determined to succeed until the end of life. The symbolic importance of the “Fish Hook” is part of the legend about Maui (he was half god / half man) catching the greatest catch in history. He hauled his “fish” (the North Island of New Zealand) slowly but surely to the surface.
| KORU or SPIRAL
Symbol of peace, growth, new life and tranquillity. A young fern enjoys the protection and support from a stronger, mature fern. This refers to the relationship between people like parent and child or partners.
Symbol of Authority and Power. The Patu was originally a single handed weapon, averaging some 40 cm in length. Several materials were used, including volcanic stone, ponamu (Greenstone/Jade), wood and bone.
| SINGLE TWIST (Figure Eight)
These carvings represent the path of life. They are the symbol of eternity. The figure is based on the kete (basket) weaving. It is seen to contain different life situations but in spite of these it continues and life is unstoppable.
| DOUBLE-/MULTI TWIST
A Twist with more than one cross over (not only the figure eight) represents the joining together of two or more people / cultures. They may experience highs and lows of life but remain bonded by friendship and loyalty for life.
These carvings prevent the owner from untimely death through accidents. The Manaia is a guardian angel and has a special role in the Maori world. Every person has a guardian angel, an unseen light surrounding each individual. The basic elements of a Manaia are a bird like head (birds are the omen carrier between man and spirits) and human body (arm and fingers).
These carvings protect the owner using the Taniwha’s domain (rivers, lakes or sea). The Taniwha is a mythical water creature, the traditional Maori Dragon, guardian of all water. The basic elements of a Taniwha are a bird like head, human body (arm and fingers) and a fishtail.
The wearer of a Tiki is assumed to be clear thinking, perspective, loyal and knowlegeable. Their strength is their character. The Hei Tiki is the most mysterious symbol of the Mauri world. The Mauri perspective is that the Hei Tiki was the first man on earth, someone from somewhere (from the stars). The colonizing Christians decided he was a fertility symbol. The original implication confronted with the “Adam and Eve” saga. The Tiki is squat, has large head and large eyes. He has an aggressive imperial bearing and webbed feet.
| WILDLIFE (i.e. Whales Tail)
To wear a Wildlife design carving reflects the owner’s commitment to conserve the world’s native species. They are a symbol of protection, friendship and companionship.
The images above are the works of Born Carver Roland who taught me bone carving.
Roland’s studio BAY CARVING