MAORI CARVING DESIGNS

The Maori are famous for their beautiful and unique carvings. Maori carvings can be found on their houses, boats, statues, and on the jewelry they make. A Maori carving can be made from many different materials including jade, bone, silver, and wood. For a great selection of pendants, necklaces, and other jewelry made with Maori carving designs visit The Bone Art Place. Each shape has a special meaning. Below is a list of the most common shapes that can be found on a Maori carving and the meaning the Maori have given to the shape.

For a great selection of books on maori carvings click here.

Types of Maori Carving Designs

Koru (spiral)
This shape depicts an unfurled fern leaf. It represents harmony, growth, and new beginnings.

Hei Matau (Fish Hook)
This shape represents prosperity, determination, strength, and good health. It also provides for a safe journey over water.

Single Twist
The Maori carving of a single twist symbolizes the path of life of an individual.

Double or Triple twist
This is one of the most popular Maori carving designs. Unlike the single twist which represents an individual the double and triple twist symbolizes the joining of two or more people or cultures for eternity. The shape represents loyalty and friendship that stays strong through the many challenges of life.

Manaia
This Maori carving depicts a spiritual guardian. The figure is traditionally carved with the head of a bird, a fish tail, and a mans body. The Manaia looks after an individuals spirit and guides the spirit to where it is suppose to go upon death.

Hei Tiki
Since ancient times the Maori have considered the tiki a good luck charm. These Maori carvings were valuable possessions handed down from generation to generation. It was believed that wearing this Maori carving would strengthen character.

Whale Tail
This Maori carving represents strength but also sensitivity. This is one of the many Maori shapes that symbolizes protection.

Dolphin
Represents a free spirit. Symbolizes closeness to nature, especially the ocean. This is also one of the many Maori carvings that represent protection.

Adeze
This shape represents strength, focus, control, and determination.


Koru
Koru

Hei Matau
Hei Matau

Single Twist
Single Twist

Triple Twist
Triple Twist

Manaia
Manaia

Hei Tiki
Hei Tiki

Whale Tail
Whale Tail

Dolphin
Dolphin