Maui fish hooks have been growing in popularity, and it’s not hard for us to see why! There’s more to these fabulous fish hook necklaces than the fact that they happen to come from Moana’s home state. They come with a long history of legends and symbolic meanings and are hand-carved on Maui’s island. Maui fish hook necklaces are known as Makau or Manaikalani, which translates to “hook from the heavens.”
The stunning fish hook necklaces of Maui are typically carved out of jade, bone, or wood. Expert carvers can make them into several different shapes and sizes depending on what fashion statement you want to make. The craftsmen hand carve the hooks in Maui, Hawaii. Hawaiian families often pass the art of carving fish hooks down through generations.
Legends Behind Maui Fishhooks
There are several variations of the myth behind Maui fish hook necklaces. Maui was a Polynesian demigod known to be a childish troublemaker—not your typical hero. The legends about him have been passed down for generations, even before the creation of written language.
Fishing with His Brothers
The first legend about the magical fishhook necklace revolves around Maui fishing up the Hawaiian Islands. Maui and his brothers loved to fish and would catch enough to feed the entire village. His brothers always left Maui behind because he brought bad luck to their fishing trips, and he was only able to catch tiny fish. Finally, his brothers agreed to take him fishing after much begging and pleading.
He brought his magic fishing hook called Manaikalani. He used a feather from his mother’s (the moon goddess) sacred birds as bait. When he and his brothers cast their fishing lines, Maui hooked something so big that he had to tell his brothers to keep paddling and not look back. It was so intense that his brothers couldn’t help but look back and see what was going on. When they did, the line snapped, and Maui pulled up eight different tropical islands from the ocean floor.
The Secret of Fire
Some people believe that Maui discovered the secret of fire during his fishing trips. Legend has it that at a certain point in history, Hawaiians forgot how to make fire, so they had to eat raw fish and vegetables. One day, Maui noticed some smoke in the distance and ended up discovering the remains of a massive fire. The culprit of the big fire was a Hawaiian moorhen bird called an ‘alae. He grabbed the bird and demanded to know how it made the fire. The bird told him to rub two pieces of a banana tree together, but that didn’t work. Finally, the bird spilled its secret to Maui; use two pieces of a dried kiawe tree. According to the myth, Maui created a large fire but left a significant mark on the ‘alae’s forehead in doing so. This legend explains why ‘alae birds have bright red bills.
Maui’s Fight with the Sun
Others believe that Maui was fighting with the sun. Many legends claim that ancient gods and people feared losing time and daylight. Maui’s mother, the moon goddess, didn’t even have enough time in the day to dry all her cloth because the sun came and went so quickly. Fed up with the sun’s annoying antics, he made his way to the island’s highest point, called the House of Sun in Hawaiian. He brought a long lasso and coconut fibers to combat the sun. Even though no one thought his plan would work, he set his trap and waited patiently. As soon as Maui saw the sun, he trapped it with his lasso and battled with it. The sun couldn’t take Maui’s power and agreed to slow down and give people more hours of sunlight in the day.
The Symbolism of Maui Fishhooks
There is plenty of symbolism behind the Maui fish hooks. For many years, all sorts of people have worn them to ensure a safe journey to Hawaii, including:
Most commonly, the hooks are worn by Hawaiian natives. Since ancient Hawaiian livelihood was so dependent on the oceans, the fishhook represents love and respect for water. It symbolizes a strong connection between whoever wears the necklace and the ocean. The Maui fish hook is a symbol of strength, energy, prosperity, abundance, and good luck. People gift fish hook necklaces to others as good luck charms. In addition, they make the wearer feel like a great provider.
Maui fish hooks can have major significance in a family unit as well. People typically pass them around to family members. Through generations, the hooks have become a vital part of a family’s story. People believe that once the fish hook necklace is worn, it becomes part of the wearer’s spirit. It can establish a sacred, spiritual link between people and bridge the gap between distance and time.
Fish hooks make a significant and symbolic gift. When people give Maui fish hooks as a gift, they are giving the gift with love.
Types of Maui Fishhooks
Local carvers create Maui fish hook necklaces out of a variety of different materials. The vast selection offers the perfect fit for anyone’s style.
Some of our favorite Maui fish hook materials are:
- deer antler
- turquoise composite
Wood Maui Fish Hooks
Wood is a traditional material carvers use to make fish hook necklaces. We offer a unique selection of wood fish hook necklaces. Our bocote wood Maui fish hook is made from an exotic wood typically native to Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies. The color is a tan brown with lines and swirls. Dense and strong, this wood makes for a wonderful fish hook necklace.
Our artists also carve Maui fish hooks out of koa wood. This wood is legendary and highly sacred in Hawaii. Koa actually translates to “warrior” in Hawaiian. This beautiful necklace is rich in color with a grain pattern. If you’re looking for a wood necklace that’s light in color, mango wood is for you. Our mango wood necklace is made with wood derived from mango trees found in tropical regions.
Deer Antler Maui Fish Hooks
Deer antler is another popular material for carving fish hook necklaces. Our scrimshaw deer antler necklace has design carved into it. Scrimshaw has been used to create designs in many cultures for centuries. We also offer deer antler necklaces without the scrimshaw design for a simpler look. These fish hook necklaces are white, meaning they will match with pretty much every outfit!
Turquoise Composite Maui Fish Hooks
Our gorgeous turquoise composite necklace makes for a great little pop of color. Composite turquoise is made up of small pieces of turquoise that are mixed with a polymer to make blocks. Then, artists can use the blocks to make jewelry. People have been using turquoise for peace and protection since ancient times. Along with its ability to bring your outfit to the next level, this necklace is extremely powerful with the energy from both the Maui fish hook and the turquoise.
Adding a Maui fish hook necklace to your jewelry collection can connect you to the traditional Hawaiian culture as well as bring protection to your own life. Consider looking through our wide selection of fish hook necklaces!