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The forms of these pendants were inspired by pekapeka (native bats) and matau (fish hooks). The latter have particular significance for Māori.
Hei matau (hook-shaped pendants) are a symbol of Māui, an ancestral hero from the Pacific. Māori creation stories relate how Māui and his brothers fished up New Zealand’s North Island – Te Ika-a-Māui (the great fish of Māui). The sweeping coastline of Hawke’s Bay is known as Te Matau-a-Māui (the fish hook of Māui).
For Māori, the fish hook also symbolises fishing generally, the sea, and Tangaroa (god of the sea).