I love working with Maori design – apart from the obvious connection through my Maori Ancestry (my Whakapapa), the pure aesthetic of the designs fill me with joy. Maori, before European influence, did not have any written language and therefore information was passed on through story and through symbolism. In this way, complex designs evolved to tell details and this persisted from generation to generation. Many of the Maori symbols that are common today have a beautiful history and story to tell.
The Maori people are renowned for their connection to the earth, to their gods and universe, and also to each other. Maori believe that our ancestors speak to us through time via the natural environment and that their wisdom is accessible to us via birds, trees, rocks and other aspects of the landscape. One of the most powerful symbols of this connection is the Pikoura, or the twisted drop. There are several variations of the Pikoura, each with its own subtle differences in meaning.
The version that most people are familiar with is the single twist Pikoura which represents the bond between two people. It recognises that people can be connected through time and space, and it represents a spiritual connection between two people for time eternal. The Pikorua is therefore one of the most potent symbols of love, loyalty and friendship. The Pikoura pictured in my shop is this single twist.
In addition, you may see the double Pikoura with two twists. This version is thought to represent the connection between a group of people, rather than just two individuals; for example a family unit or for children or siblings. It may also be symbolic of the connection between people within groups or communities – groups within a tribe for example
Finally, the triple twist Pikoura is believed to be reference to the bonds between cultures, large groups or traditionally between tribes. These would often be given as a token of friendship and loyalty. The triple Pikoura is also thought to refer to the ‘three baskets of knowledge’ bought down from the heavens by the God Tane (creator of Tiki, the first man). These baskets were:
- The kete-aronui which held all the knowledge that could help mankind
- The kete-tuauri which held the knowledge of ritual, memory and prayer
- and the kete-tuatea which contained knowledge of evil or makutu, which was harmful to mankind.
Once again, the theme of a connection much deeper than a simple physical connection, is expressed in these designs. Although the lives of loved ones will take different paths, they will always be connected, crossing each-other in life or death. It is a potent statement of loyalty, friendship and love.
If you would like a Pikoura of your own, or for a loved one, you can shop HERE for one. They are available in recycled copper wire or recycled Sterling Silver wire and start from just $NZ85.00