The Manaia is a spiritual guardian or a guardian angel, said to ward off danger and protect against intruders. It acts as a provider and protector over the earth, sea and sky.
The Manaia has a bird-like head, symbolising flight of the spirit. Its three fingers are believed to represent birth, life and death; the life cycle of man. Alternatively, they are the Three Baskets of Knowledge; the knowledge mankind needed from the gods to live successfully on earth.