The legends of Pacific Island peoples

Published by Howard Sharp on 30th Jun 2020

The legends of Pacific Island peoples show their long history of a deep connection to the sea and to the land. Their works of art and adornments reflect this integral relationship between the people and their surroundings. They were used to communicate ideas about who they were and from where they had come; and to represent their connection to both the corporeal and spiritual worlds. Each shape, the materials used, has a meaning, a purpose, that transcends the physical object itself. 

THE KORU, SPIRAL, gets its inspiration from the uncurling fern frond as it opens up bringing new life into the world. It represents peace, purity, harmony, and new beginnings. The PIKORUA , TWIST, represents two new shoots coming up from the ground together, eternally bound to each other and to the the earth from where they came. It represents the bonding of love and friendship between two people or two cultures. The single, INFINITY, loop represents the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds and the eternal connection between two people. 

The MANAIA is a mythical, birdlike, figure that is a protector over land, sea and air. 

The TIKI represents the first mortal and is a symbol of good luck and fertility. The ADZE/TOKI/DROP are symbols of strength, independence, and endurance. The ROIMATA, tear drop, represents strength, compassion, healing and comfort. The FISH HOOK, HEI MATAU (pronounced Hay Mat-Ow), finds its origins in Maori legend, which holds that the North Island of New Zealand was once a huge fish that was caught by the great mariner, Maui, using only a woven line and a bone fish hook.

Legend holds that the shape of Hawkes Bay is that of the hei matau, which caught in the fish's side. In Hawaii, the fish hook is known as the MAKAU; it too is highly treasured and symbolic of good luck, strength and prosperity. Our pieces are a tribute to the peoples whose lives and cultures inspired such beautiful legends and works of art.