Maori Bone Carving Designs


This is my favourite design, the spiral shape of the koru flows and moves and I often use this shape in my paintings. The spiral shape is taken from the frond of the New Zealand fern.

The unfolding fronds of the fern become new leaves or new growth. This is why the koru represents new life or new growth.The circular shape of the baby frond also symbolizes, positive change, personal growth and awakening. 

Because of their symbolic meaning koru bone carving necklaces are often given to someone about to take a next step in life such as newlyweds, new parents, a newborn child, or other mile-stone occasions.

The koru design is used quite extensively throughout Polynesian cultures and in particular the Maori culture.

The spiral shape resembles the concept of perpetual movement. Its inner coil suggests a going back to the origin. The koru therefore resembles the way in which life both changes and stays the same.

Aside from the Tiki it is probably one of the most recognized Maori designs connected with New Zealand and Maori culture. The Koru design even jets its way through international skies as the logo on the tail of Air New Zealand aircraft!

Hei Tiki

The Tiki is believed to represent the first man on earth who came from the stars. The Maori Tiki symbolizes fertility and childbirth and when worn as a bone carving pendant the tiki is a protector against evil spirits.

The tilted head symbolises clear thinking, the hands represent strength, the mouth means communication, the heart symbolises love and the hips fertility.

Greenstone Tiki

Hei Tiki is a powerful good-luck symbol. The person who wears a Hei Tiki is considered to be clear-thinking, perceptive, loyal and knowledgeable.