Meanings of Symbols
Manaia Mythical Bird - New Zealand - The Manaia is from Maori Mythology and it is said to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits. It is usually represented by the head of a bird, body of a man and the tail of a fish; each representing the sky, earth and sea and the balance of nature.
The Manaia is a holder of great spritual energy and is thought to act as a guardian against evil and protector against danger and fear. It is usually blended in to many designs in Maori culture. Sometimes it can be confused as a fish hook, due to is wide curve and lower body.
Fish Hook - The fish hook is said to bring strength, peace, perseverance, good health and prosperity. It represents a great respect for the sea and everything in it.
Palaoa - Lei Niho Palaoa - The Palaoa Necklace (Lei Niho Palaoa) was worn usually by the aristocratic class. Rank of an individual was marked by extravagent garments or ornaments. Men and women wore it on ceremonial occasions and men wore it during battle. Because this ornament was believed to carry a mans essence and power (mana), it was important for an enemy to take possession of his niho palaoa in order to remove his spirit when killed in battle.
These hook shaped pendants were orignially carved from the tooth (niho) of sperm whale (palaoa) and later from Arctic walrus ivory.