Whales and dolphins, and in fact all sea creatures and birds, were of huge importance to the Maori as a food and utensil source. Sea creatures were particularly revered. The whale is a symbol of great size and intelligence, and carvings of whales appear on some Maori meeting houses or food storehouses.
Whales and dolphins were believed to help some Maori navigate their way across the South Pacific during the Great Migration. Thus Whales and Dolphins are symbols of protection, and today this includes protection for travellers on all modes of transport.