For the Maori, stingrays are symbols of wisdom and protection, for they glide through the waters with grace, and so serenely peaceful. Yet when they are threatened they can use the spines of their tails to great and deadly effect. They move swiftly, while camouflaging with the ocean floor, and they are not to be underestimated. Some communities of Maori still believe in ancestrally linked guardian spirits, and among those that are spoken of are shark, and stingray, and owl. These guardian spirits are deities that have entered into an animal and thus elevated it to an immortal status. Their role is to guide and protect their descendants, and also to punish them if they stray to ill actions.
Kaitiaki is a person or conservator over some precious element of the natural world, and the concept weaves disparate elements of ancestral beliefs, community, and environmental stewardship together into modern practical purpose. Stingrays are seen to be kaitiaki of certain shores and beaches to ensure that shellfish are harvested in a way that does not hurt the web of the ecosystem, thus ensuring that there is always plenty of shellfish and other resources when needed.
Size: 7 x 7 inches