The Koru necklace is a staple jewellery piece in New Zealand tradition, being one of the most renowned forms of Maori symbols otherwise known as kowhaiwhai. These can be found embedded in the architecture of the Marae which is a sacred place for the Maori people. In these places, you can find a large portion of Maori art, crafted by hand to create a beautiful tapestry of this place. Because of this, you can see a major significance the Koru necklace has on the New Zealand population and why it is a popular symbol. There is an incredible history and symbolic meaning behind the jewellery and today, we are going to uncover this in the next few sections below.

Symbolic Meaning

In Maori culture, the Koru necklace has multiple meanings. Most specifically its greenstone version, the pendant is widely used in Maori art as a result of its versatile and malleable circular appearance. Coming from the native New Zealand plant, the silver fern frond, it is used as the symbol of constant movement and of creation. It coils up to create a shell-looking shape. This dictates the idea of how life can change so abruptly and appear the same altogether. Some people have theorised that the Koru necklace is a sign of harmony. It creates a balance between the chaos from the storm and the calm in the sea, keeping things at ease. It is also the symbol for renewal and new life, as fern fronds tend to unwind through a lifetime as it ages. This then starts to sprout a new leaf, continuing the life cycle.

The Koru necklace is a significant emblem in the Maori religion who typically believes in gods and goddesses based on Mother Earth. The silver fern is a highly predominant plant among New Zealand forests due to its capabilities of regeneration and renewal. When new leaves begin to sprout in the tree this is a major sign of a new calendar for the Maori people. In addition to Koru necklace forms, this symbol is largely used in paintings, architecture, and other creative avenues. These are usually painted in different shades spanning from black, red, and white.

Its Significance

Koru necklace

In order to understand the importance of the Koru necklace, let’s dive deeper into Maori culture. Maoris are known as the indigenous population of New Zealand. They participate in a variety of traditions, placing a heavy significance on the use of religious motifs in their culture, artworks, and history. These symbols are passed down from generation to generation which is why the Koru necklace is a highly essential jewellery tradition.

Archaeologists have found the Koru necklace in ancient artworks from the Maori people and in the Marae which as discussed is a meeting house for the indigenous. These people held the Marae to converse over a variety of topics including ethics, culture, and philosophy. You can find these symbols all across these buildings.


In short, the Koru necklace has placed the utmost importance on the Maori people being at the heart of New Zealand culture. It has had a long history with the Indigenous people and is still now as pivotal part of the community. From Koru necklace forms, artworks, architectural designs, and other creative formats, this symbol is an integral part of the culture. With all these different uses, you can see traditions passed down through these incredible symbols. Taking pride in the natural surroundings of New Zealand’s forests, the silver fern frond is highly beloved by the population. By wearing one of these jewellery pieces, it conveys so much meaning that you wouldn’t think of from first glance.