My Obsession with Spirals


In Maori design, the koru has a dual meaning. It is commonly used in Maori art as a symbol of creation because of its fluid circular shape. Based on the unfurling fern frond of the native New Zealand silver fern, the circular shape of the koru conveys the idea of perpetual movement, while it’s inner coil, the corm with rolled up inner leaflets, suggests a return to the point of origin. In the larger scheme, this is a metaphor for the way in which life both changes and stays the same.


Some have determined that the koru meaning is one of harmony. I can only guess but maybe this is because of the metaphor I mentioned above? Between the chaos of change and calm of the everyday, there is a point of equilibrium, a state of harmony in life. In its balanced shape the koru represents this.

New Beginnings

The koru is also said to represent new life. Literally speaking, the baby fern frond slowly unwinds over its adolescent lifetime as it grows into a mature frond. It then opens into a brand new leaf on the silver fern plant where it ages and then dies. This is the fern fronds life cycle. When the silver fern leaf is a frond in its lifecycle, it’s a baby; therefore people associate the koru design with new life.