32 / Koru

Described as a ‘bulbed motif’, the koru represents the unfurling frond of the silver fern. As a symbol of new life and growth, it played an important part in traditional Māori wood carving and painted meeting house decoration. In more recent times the koru has been adapted for other uses, such as the symbol of Air New Zealand in 1973. The koru has also featured prominently in the paintings of artist Gordon Walters (1919–1995), and in 1983 Austrian artist and, later, New Zealand citizen Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000) used it as the basis for his design for an alternative flag for his adopted country.

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