Pāua is the Māori name given to three species of large edible sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs which belong to the family Haliotidae (there is only genus Haliotis), known in the United States and Australia as abalone, and in the United Kingdom as ormer shells.
To Māori, pāua are recognised taonga, or treasure, esteemed both as kaimoana (seafood) and as a valued resource for traditional and contemporary arts and crafts. Pāua are frequently used to represent the eyes in Māori carvings and traditionally are associated with the stars or whetū, the symbolic eyes of ancestors that gaze down from the night sky.
Pāua is also called “Sea Opal” or abalone in the United States and Australia.
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