Koru

In New Zealand, there is an indigenous species of fern which has become a symbol of life and vitality for the native Maori culture.

The koru shape comes from the shoots of the fern's fronds. Each new shoot of the fern plant begins tightly curled, with the tip of the new frond bent inside in a scroll shape. As the new shoot grows, it unfurls and becomes a new fern frond. It is this unfurling process that has so captivated the thoughts of the Maori.

The unfurling of a new fern frond has come to symbolize the process of growth and maturing that each living thing goes through in its lifetime. The koru is a symbol that replicates the spiral form of the fern shoot, representing the life and vitality bound up inside each new life. As the koru grows and unfurls from an immature and concealed shoot and slowly unfolds to reach the light, it provides a pattern for how every life needs to be opened and unfurled to release the vitality contained within it.

For the Maori the koru is an important symbol for New Zealand, with its implicit connections to the meaning and importance of the processes of life, growth, change and renewal that all things ultimately experience. The spiral of the koru thus provides geometry and a visible representation of the strength, value and beauty engendered by all life.

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