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Pikorua – A Maori Symbol

The Pikorua is a famous Maori symbol that represents the journey of life, friendship, eternity and loyalty, as well as the connection of people and the joining of different cultures. It’s positive symbolism and universal relatability has made it one of the most popular symbols for use in jewelry, charms and as a decorative motif in carvings. Here’s a look at the Pikorua and what it symbolizes.

What is Pikorua?

The Pikorua, which is also otherwise referred to as the twist, is a Maori symbol. Unlike most other Maori symbols, which are ancient and have long historical traditions, the Pikorua is relatively new. This is assumed because the Maori wouldn’t have had the tools necessary to create the Pikorua out of greenstone in the past. The symbol likely emerged after the arrival of Europeans who brought with them more precise tools for diamond cutting.

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The symbol has several variations, but the most common depiction is a figure-eight shape, with a smaller top loop and a larger lower loop. The Pikorua with a double twist is one of the most popular versions. Some Pikorua variations feature three or more two or more twists, while others have more intricate loops.

In terms of Pikorua’s design, there are two possible origins. The first is the pikopiko fern, as the design resembles two of the ferns intertwined with each other. This is a pale green fern that grows in damp and shady regions of New Zealand. The other possible inspiration of the Pikorua is the weave pattern of the kete, a type of traditional basket woven by the Maori.

Symbolism of the Pikorua

Although quite basic in design, the Pikorua holds deep symbolism. Here are some of the meanings associated with the symbol:

  • Relationships: The Pikorua symbolizes the strong bond and connection between people. Like the symbol’s continuous twists and loops, you can expect the lives of two people to continue even when they face unexpected twists and turns. The symbol also indicates that you can cross and re-cross paths even though you may be temporarily separated.
  • Individual Path in Life: The Pikorua can also signify your unique journey in life. Like life, the Pikorua isn’t straight, but takes many turns and winding routes. In this respect, the Pikorua can be compared to the Unalome, which holds a similar meaning. The symbol has arms without any endpoint, resembling lifelong relationships.
  • Connection: The Pikorua connects the spirits of family, friends, and lovers, keeping them close together even across time and space.

Variations in the Pikorua’s Design

As mentioned above, there are several variations to the Pikorua’s design. These include:

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  • The Single Twist – One popular variation of the Pikorua is the single twist. It comes in the form of a loop or the number eight. This design symbolizes the paths that people take in life. Even if they take various routes and paths in life, their connection will never break, causing them cross paths again. It also represents the union of two people, the strength of their bond and is a symbol of loyalty, friendship, and fellowship.
  • The Double Twist – The double twist variation of the Pikorua tends to symbolize the connection of a group of people, rather than on the bond between two people. An example of the bond or connection represented by the double twist is a group of children, siblings, or a family unit. It is also representative of the connection of members of communities and groups (for instance, the members of a tribe). The double twist also symbolizes eternity.  Traditionally, the double twist was sometimes given as gifts to members of other tribes, as a symbol of union and connection.
  • The Triple Twist – Just like the double twist, the triple twist version of the Pikorua is designed for groups and whole cultures. Both the double and triple twists have similar meanings. However, the triple twist is more about connecting groups and cultures and strengthening their bond.

Because of its versatile design, sometimes the Pikorua is combined with other Maori symbols, such as the Koru. The result is a more meaningful and symbolic image.

Uses of the Pikorua

The Pikorua is popular carved from greenstone, to be worn as pendants, used as charms or simply as a decorative motif.

Regardless of the form of Pikorua you choose, it’s a fantastic gift for someone special. The fact that it signifies togetherness and eternity makes it an excellent gift to show love, friendship, and union.

The Pikorua is also popular as a design in some Maori tattoos, often incorporated into other elements. When used as a Maori tattoo, you can perceive it as a representation of one’s journey and life path.

Wrapping Up

The Pikorua continues to be among the most famous of Maori symbols. Used in different parts of New Zealand in the form of tattoos, in jewelry or in pounamu carving, Pikorua will always be a symbol to represent your strong connection and bond with others.

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.