The Manaia is a mythological creature in Māori culture, and is a common motif in Māori carving and jewellery. The Manaia is usually depicted as having the head of a bird and the tail of a fish and the body of a man. Other interpretations include a seahorse and a lizard.
The Manaia is traditionally believed to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits, and its symbol is used as a guardian against evil. In this form, it is usually represented in a figure-of-eight shape, the upper half culminating in a bird-like beak. This form was also widely used in designs of door and window lintels and other architectural features, as well as in ceremonial hafts of weapons.
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