The legend of how the Paua got its shell
I was sitting at my desk today admiring a particularly beautiful piece of Ariki New Zealand jewellery – the colours of the cabochon shone and sparkled in the light as the beautiful autumn sunshine streamed through my office window, changing from blues and greens to pinks and purples as I turned jewellery piece to different angles. Movement makes the colours dance like sunlight on crystal clear water.
It reminded me of a most beautiful story I had recently come across which written by a New Zealand author and I just had to share it with you!
It tells the story of how our beloved Paua Shell came to have the most colourful and vibrant colours that we see in our jewellery today.
Tangaroa and the Paua
The myths and legends of New Zealand’s earliest inhabitants, the Māori tell us that once, in the days of old, Paua had no shell.
In Māori mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the sea. He is a son of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Sky and Earth.
Tangaroa, god of the sea, saw the difficulties that this created for Paua and decided to create something special for him. He said:
“I will take from my domain the coolest blues of the ocean. And ask of my brother Tane the freshest greens of the forest. From the dawn you shall have a tinge of violet. From the sunset a blush of pink. And overall there will be a shimmer of mother of pearl”.
With this, Tangaroa fashioned for Paua a wonderful coat that sparkled and dazzled with its beauty. But it was fragile and soon broken by those sea creatures who were envious of Paua’s new appearance. Tangaroa saw this, so he strengthened the shell with many layers of the coolest blues of the ocean, the freshest greens of the forest, the violet of the dawn and the pink of the sunset. Finally he added a camouflage coat to enable Paua to blend in with the drab greys and browns of the rocks. Tangaroa then charged Paua with the life-long task of adding layer upon delicate layer, each a different hue and blend.
So it was that Paua got his shell. He hugs the secret of his inner beauty to himself and only at the end of his life, when his empty shell washes ashore, is his artistry revealed.
To me this is the essence of our beautiful Ariki New Zealand Jewellery. A unique piece of New Zealand to be hugged close and treasured for over a lifetime.
The colours of the Paua Shell never cease to amaze me – each and every one is different and unique. Hand crafted by nature to show the most amazing and dazzling colours from our world into one precious creation.
And I am so proud of the fact we here at Ariki New Zealand take this creation and make it even more precious. Hand crafting each and every unique New Zealand jewellery piece to capture the Paua Shell beauty in its full glory and honouring Tangaroa the god who provided us with this treasure.