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Traditional Maori Carving Designs

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The Maori are a Polynesian people who have excelled in carving for centuries. The following is a short list of the traditional designs they have used. The figures are the simple versions — Maori artists would, of course, make their carvings very ornate.

Koru Koru From the tree fern, spiral representing New Life and Growth.
Tiki Tiki First Child or Ancestor. In feotal position. Strong Good Luck charm.
Heru Heru Ceremonial headdress for Maori man, nowadays, a unisex hair adornment.
Hei Matau Hei Matau Fish hook originally carved from Maui's Grandmother's jawbone. Used to fish up the North Island. Brings Good Luck and Prosperity.
Koropepe Koropepe Eel-type fish usually in motion.
Manaia (simple) Manaia Guardian of Spiritual Energy. Has the Head of a Bird, body of a Man and Tail of a Fish creating a balance of Sky, Earth and Sea.
Maripi Maripi Flesh cutting knife made with sharks teeth. For ceremonial occasions.
Hei Toki / Adze Hei Toki-Adze Representing Power and Authority (often male).
Wakahuia Wakahuia treasure box for Huia feathers, amulets, pendants and necklaces.
Mere Mere/Patu Hand clubs. Symbolise Facing and Overcoming Life's Difficulties and Challenges.
Mokopeke Mokopeke / Koropepe Mythical snake-like creature relating back to early traves through Polynesia.
Roimata Roimata Teardrop of Tears of Sadness
Taiaha Taiaha Long carved spear used in martial arts -- like combat.
Tekoteko Tekoteko Human-like figure from apex of meeting house (Wharenui). Usually portrays long departed Chief or Warrior.
Marakihau Marakihau Mythical deep sea monster with human form and long tubular tongue.
Tuere Tuere Carved prow of canoe or waka.
Taurapa Taurapa Carved stern post of Maori war canoe.

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