What does a manta ray tattoo mean

Maori symbols such as turtles, dolphins or lizards and their meanings

The Maori jewelry symbols with their characteristic meanings play an important role in Maori culture.

Maori jewelry symbols as Taonga - a meaningful treasure

Taonga is the name for a treasure in the Maori language.
Taonga can be an object, a spiritual belief, a cultural habit, or the language itself.
But jewelry made of wood, bone, mother-of-pearl or jade with their symbolic meanings can also be part of this treasure.

On this page you will find information about the Maori symbols Taniwha, lizard and gecko, turtle, dolphin, whale and whale fin, shark, hammerhead, sea horse and manta ray.


The symbols Matau, Koru, Twist Pikorua, Maori Tiki, Polynesian Tiki, Manaia, Toki and Mere are shown on page 1 " Symbol Meaning Maori Jewelry "described.
If you click on the shop button, you will be redirected to the respective article in our Fundinsel Shop.

The meaning of the turtle

The turtle as a jewelry symbol or as a tattoo sign plays a very important role in the culture of the Maori as well as in the entire Polynesian region.

The Pacific Ocean is considered an inexhaustible source of food by the Polynesian people, which is why they also believe that this sea is the world after their death.

"The turtle is the symbol of the navigator, the navigator of the world's oceans.

Furthermore, in the Polynesian region it is the symbol of great endurance, long life and happiness. "

A turtle that moves both on land and in water leaves the Polynesian people in little doubt that those sea creatures will navigate them safely through the ocean after their death; as the last escort on the way to their resting place.


Turtles in the shop

The importance of the lizard and gecko

In the Polynesian cultures the Lizard / gecko considered an appearance of Polynesian gods.
The lizard also had a special meaning in Maori mythology, as this reptile was regarded as an emissary of the god Whiro.
Whiro is the lizard god of the dead, the embodiment of evil and the lord of darkness and lives in a misty dark underworld, accompanied by a host of evil spirits.

In contrast to Tane, the god of light and fertility, Whiro inspires people to do evil.
When the gods got angry and wanted to kill a person, they called a lizard that invaded the human body to consume all the vital organs.

"This symbol describes the lizard as a guardian and protector."

Nevertheless, the lizard can be found again and again in jewelry work or in artistically designed wood carvings.
In this case, however, the lizard's evil power was seen as protection.
Despite the fear of the lizard and its proximity to Whiro, the Maori regarded it as a guardian and protector.

Lizards in the shop

The meaning of the Taniwha

The Taniwha is a supernatural being from the mythical world of Maori culture and likes to hide in the depths of the oceans, in rivers, ponds, swamps and caves.
This being, with its ability to change its appearance, was feared by many Maori.
In the water, for example, it could take the form of a shark, whale, squid or even marine reptiles.

On land it turned into a dragon (similar to other cultures), a giant lizard (with or without wings) or a snake with fiery eyes and a wide open mouth.
Although this creature abducted, imprisoned, killed and ate women and men, the taniwha was accepted as part of the natural environment from the Maori point of view.

"If the Taniwha was treated with respect, then this being could also be seen as a guardian and protector."

From the spiritual point of view of the Maori, the Taniwha is considered to be a link between their human life on earth and the spiritual world of the gods and ancestors.

Taniwha in the shop

The importance of the dolphin

The sea with the creatures that live in it has always been of great importance in Maori culture.
Thereby marine inhabitants like whales, turtles and the Dolphin particularly respected.

According to oral tradition, it was dolphins who helped the first Maoris to navigate the South Pacific in their ocean-going canoes to reach their new home.

Similar stories tell of sharks that got too close to the Maori canoes were attacked by dolphins.
So it seemed logical to the Maori to carry the dolphin with them as a symbol of protection on their journeys through the ocean.

"A dolphin symbolizes playfulness, joy, harmony, friendship."

The dolphin also describes the expression for the connection to the ocean as well as to all living beings in the ocean.

As a subspecies of the Hector Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) the Maui Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) is known, which is one of the fastest and smallest dolphin species and occurs exclusively on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
The name Maui is the Maori name for "god of the sea".

Dolphins in the shop

The meaning of whale and whale fin

The size of the whale with its intelligence plays an important role in Maori culture.

Beached whales were seen and revered as a gift from the gods.
Carvings were then carved out of the whale bones to pay homage to the gods.

"As a symbol, the whale and the whale fin describe speed and strength."

The symbol of the whale shows the bond of a family and the mother's love for her calves, who swim side by side so that they can touch each other at every opportunity.

Whale and whale fin in the shop

The meaning of shark, hammerhead shark, sea horse, manta ray


"The shark, hammerhead shark and manta ray symbolize strength."

"Lifelong loyalty is the symbolic meaning for the seahorse."

Ocean residents in the shop