Traditional Pendants and their Meanings

Hei Tiki

An ancestral piece, worn in remembrance of past ancestors. It is thought to hold the power (mana) of previous owners and aid the person who wears it.

Toki / Adze

Represents the tools the Maori traditionally used. It gives the wearer strength and courage to do, face, get through and achieve anything in their life. 

Hei Matau / Fish Hook

Represents strength and determination. It brings peace, prosperity, good health to the wearer.  It also  provides the wearer with a safe journey through life - both a safe journey especially over water and also helping the wearer through any hardships and tough times they may face on their journey through life. 

Mere / Patu / War Club

Represents the weapon the Maori used. It gives the wearer strength and courage to do, get through face and achieve anything in life. It signifies high status and authority.


Mean’s ‘containing Mana’ (prestige and power). It has the head of a bird, the body of a human and the tail of a fish, representing the sky, earth and sea. It is your guardian angel. It is a spiritual piece that protects the wearer from evil and bad things and brings you good luck in your life. 

Pikorua / Twist

Represents the paths of life and love. Also the joining of lives in love or friendship for eternity. Though sometimes you will be apart you will always come back together again.


The Koru represents the new shoots of the fern plant opening so it symbolises growth, harmony and new beginnings.

It also represents the family as a whole, an individual person, an event, time, place, accomplishment or achievement that has happened in your life.

They were traditionally tattooed on the body and carved in the main poles and panels in the Whare/house.

It is up to the person to tell the story of what their Koru’s represents.

Porohita / The Disc

Represents the circle of life which has no beginning or end. It means the opportunities are endless in and you have a choice to do and achieve whatever you want to in life.

Roimata / Kuru / The Drop

Encourages knowledge, confidence and independence. It gives positive energy, helps healing and is often called the comfort stone.

Wēra / Whale Tail

The Whale Tail gives the wearer strength in their life because the whale is such a powerful mammal.  It indicates the support often shown by dolphins and whales to humans in distress. Therefore it is a symbol of protection.  It also represents speed, confidence, sensitivity and the bond between animal and human.

The Whale Tail signifies that you like being out in nature doing things and looking after the environment - respect for the sea and nature.  It is also a good luck charm providing safe passage over water. 

Makao / Shark Tooth

The Shark Tooth is a symbol of male strength, proud masculinity and potency.  It offers strength, guile, protection and guidance to the wearer. 

As a talisman it brings affluence and good fortune to the wearers life and it is believe to protect the individual from evil spirits, shark attacks and water accidents. 

The Shark Spirit embodied in the tooth is a peaceable predator in Maori belief.  It is to be strong and aggressive when it comes to opportunities and challenges.  At the same time forge lasting friendships and work hard to keep the peace.  It is a totem symbol which confirms self-confidence, self-trust and momentum in life. 

Kōuma / The Breastplate

Worn over top of the torso, the Breastplate offers physical protection as well as giving the wearer strength and offering them symbolic protection through their life. It is like a shield.