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Taniwha / Mythical Monster
While other cultures have the dragon. Nothing
would be complete without the mystical and mysterious creatures
we call Taniwha whose origins are as
old as the earth. The myths and legends surrounding the taniwha
are wide and varied throughout New Zealand . Some say the taniwha
ruled the world long before humanity existed. They also have a
spiritual representation often associated to power and ferocity.
The native Huia bird now extinct was the prized bird of the Māori warrior because of its tail feathers. Such feathers were revered as taonga - treasures by Māori. The wearing of feathers as ornaments was later adopted by European women as a symbol of social standing.
The native hawk appears in Māori mythology in the story of Maui , where we are told that the colour of its plumage is the result of it having been scorched by the fire of the ancestress Mahuika.
The Manaia is an ancient symbol
and could be said to be one of the primary elements in Whakairo
Māori carving today. It
is often seen in various styles contorted and twisted into many
shapes and forms to represent a birdman with its distinctive beak
like appearance. While there are many interpretations as to the
meaning of Manaia , it represents two of the most visible
celestial bodies in the sky. The beak represents the half moon,
while the circle or head represents Tama nui te Rā,
The Hei Tiki or Tiki is an ancient symbol worn as a greenstone ornament around the neck by men and women. The popular understanding is that it is a symbol of fertility and growth. There is reference also with the Tiki to the myth of the first man created by Tāne.
The elements of whānau -family is universal throughout the world signifying the family unit.