Maori Tattoo: la guida definitiva al Ta Moko – nativo del tatuaggio

Maori Tattoo (Ta Moko) – the definite guide to Maori tattoo styles and symbols, which includes fish hook tattoos, patterns, designs and the meanings behind unique tribal tattoos.

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We take terrific pride in generating conventional Maori tattoo art

In the previous, Ta Moko tattoos traditionally represented distinct Maori tribes but for these of unique heritage/ancestry – this is not the case. Having said that, the tattoo can have a variety of other reputable meanings, such as your family members (physical lives), prosperity, travel, strength, your profession path and so forth.

How you inform your story in KIRITUHI TATTOO otherwise identified as TA MOKO

Kiri implies Skin and Tuhi implies Art, we frequently tattoo the physique and arm places on our shoppers so it will be defined as Kiri Tuhi rather than Ta Moko was reserved for the face only.

All Maori style is created up of a quantity of critical style components.

Most important Manawa Lines are the skin hunting lines in your maori tattoo, MANAWA is the Maori word for Heart and represents Your Life, your Life Journey and your time spent on Earth.

Most important Korus coming off the Manawa Lines are utilized represent people today and people today groups .
Korus are primarily based off the tiny new development shoots on the New Zealand Fern plant and represent New Life and New Beginnings.

When you add each and every koru off your Manawa line you can be adding the crucial people today in your life journey , Mothers , Fathers, Grandparents, Young children , siblings , Loved ones good friends family members and so on.

Distinctive Infill Patterns ( Black Places ) in your tattoo and their meanings



Dog skin cloak, representative of warriors/battles/courage and strength.


Representative of Taranaki (a area of New Zealand) as nicely as prosperity, mackerel tail.


Fish scales that represent abundance and well being.

Ahu ahu mataroa:

Shows talent and achievement in athleticism or sport and can also be representative of a new challenge.


From whale teeth.


The manaia is identified as a spiritual guardian, and carrier of supernatural powers. Traditionally depicted as a bird like figure with the head of a bird, physique of a man and the tail of a fish it acts as a provider and protector more than the sky, earth and sea. Likened to a bird sitting on your shoulder, hunting soon after ones spirit, and guiding the spirit exactly where it is supposed to go when the time comes.

Hei tiki:

Generally identified as a great luck charm the tiki is also regarded a symbol of fertility. Assumed to be clear pondering, perceptive, loyal and knowledgeable, the wearers strength is their character. The tiki is a talisman to the Maori people today, and has been regarded as a great luck charm from the ancient instances. The Maori think the tiki represents the unborn human embryo. The most useful tiki’s had been carved from greenstone and had been handed down by means of generations and treasured possessions.

Kiri implies Skin and Tuhi implies Art , we frequently tattoo the physique and arm places on our shoppers so it will be defined as Kiri Tuhi rather than Ta Moko was reserved for the face only.

The Procedure of Designing your Hand Crafted Maori Tattoo ( Ta Moko ) at Zealand Tattoo

We have a style method we go by means of with all our Customers. This starts with a Consultation with the Studio either in particular person or by way of e-mail. This is exactly where you can bring your suggestions to the Artist and speak about a final idea for the piece.

Ordinarily, the method for your tattoo is that you come in on the date/time of your appointment for a consultation with our artist to go over the meanings you want to incorporate in your style. The artist will then sketch a rough style which will show you the all round appear of your style as nicely as highlighting your a variety of meanings.

Artists Draft image soon after brainstorming with consumer

The Freehand aspect at Zealand Tattoo that sets your Maori Tattoo style apart from the crowd

The Artist will then freehand the style onto your skin with Tattoo Marker Pens and guarantee that all of your representations are constructed inside the piece, in Standard Maori Symbolism. This is accomplished to complement the contours of your physique. When you are entirely pleased with the all round appear of your Style, then we will Tattoo it for you.

Artists handcrafting the freehand image straight onto the skin, and finishing the Tattoo

What is Maori tattoo art?

The Maori are indigenous people today that originated in New Zealand. They have a type of physique art, identified as moko but much more typically referred to as Maori tattooing. The art type was brought to the Maori from Polynesia and is regarded very sacred.

Considering the fact that the Maori people today take into consideration the head to be the most sacred component of the physique, the most common sort of Maori tattoo was the facial tattoo, which was composed of curved shapes and spiral like patterns. Normally this tattoo covered the complete face and was a symbol of rank, social status, energy and prestige.
For Maori, tattooing was (and for some, nonetheless is) a rite of passage, which meant it was very revered and ritualised. The tattooing would start normally through adolescence.
The terrific factor about Maori tattoos is that to this day, no two tattoos are alike. Maori tattoos are a single of a sort. They are constantly very intricate and detailed and show the craftsmanship and artistry of not only the artist but of the Maori culture.
The Maori tattoo artist is referred to as the tohunga ta moko which implies moko specialist. These tattooists are very respected, and regarded tapu which implies inviolable or holy. Tohunga ta moko had been largely guys, but there are a handful of ladies who take up the practice.

How did Maori tattoo art come to be common?

The art of Maori tattoo was brought to New Zealand by the people today of Eastern Polynesia in 1769 Captain James Cook. The word tattow itself was pegged as Cook’s adaptation of the native Tahitian word tautau. Captain Cook and Joseph Banks initially saw the intricate tattoos of Maori tribesmen through their voyage to the South Pacific, and became fascinated and intrigued by it.
European explorers in New Zealand had been pretty interested in the art of Maori tattooing and culture. Normally Maori would take the tattooed heads of their enemies as trophies through war and kept them in ornate boxes as symbols of energy, conquest and protections. Since Europeans created frequent get in touch with with Maori tribes, a group of missionaries later decided to study Maori and attempt to convert them to the ideals of Christianity. In 1814, taking with them a chief by the name of Hongi, the Europeans sailed back to England.
When Hongi was there he worked with an Oxford University professor to create a bilingual dictionary and translate the Bible into Maori language. He was granted an audience with King George IV and was presented with trunk loads of gifts as a reward for his evangelical efforts.
Hongi exchanged his gifts for a quantity of muskets and an ample provide of ammunition on the way household, in Sydney. Upon his return to New Zealand, he utilized the weapons to launch a series of raids against enemy tribes. The Maori later found that Europeans would truly trade tattooed Maori heads for weapons.
Quickly, the Maori people today would truly raid neighbouring tribes for the sole objective of getting tattooed heads, which could be traded for guns and much more ammunition. The traders then sold the heads to museums and private collectors in places of Europe.
Desperate to receive as a lot of weapons as attainable, the Maori would behead slaves and commoners who had been captured in battle and tattoo their heads post mortem. Normally, even heads of poor high quality or these with unfinished tattoos had been nonetheless presented for sale.
A single of the most noted collectors of tattooed heads was Significant Basic Horatio Robley, who in his lifetime acquired some 35 tattooed heads. Now, 30 out of the 35 heads in his collection can be identified in the Organic History Museum of New York. Significant Basic Robley also published a book entitled Moko which gave comprehensive facts on the method and which means of Maori tattoo styles.

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The Maori tattoo legend

The legend of Mataora

A much less historical explanation of the origin of Maori tattoo can be identified in the neighborhood legend which suggests that ta moko, the Maori tattoo, came from the underworld, referred to as Uetonga. The legend states that there was a young warrior referred to as Mataora, who fell in really like with the princess of the underworld, referred to as Niwareka. Niwareka came above ground to marry Mataora.
Having said that, Mataora mistreated Niwareka, which in turn, created her return to the underworld. Mataora, sick with guilt about the way he treated his wife pursued her to the underworld, only to be greeted by her relatives who laughed at his ragged look and smudged face paint.
Mataora apologized prior to Niwareka’s family members, and this act won Niwareka back. Ahead of returning above ground, it was stated that Niwareka’s father, the king of the underworld taught Mataora the art of ta moko. Mataora brought back these capabilities to his people today and that was how the Maori came to have their distinct form of tattoo.

Maori tattoo is pretty complicated

Maori tattoo traditionally does not involve the use of needles rather the Maori utilized knives and chisels created from shark teeth, sharpened bone or sharp stones. The chisel, also referred to as the uhi, was created from albatross bon though some had been stated to be created of iron. Knives and chisels had been either plain and smooth or serrated, and these had been utilized interchangeably based on the intended pattern or style in the skin.
The inks that had been utilized by Maori had been created from all organic merchandise. Burnt wood was utilized to produce black pigments even though lighter pigments had been derived from caterpillars infected with a particular form of fungus, or from burnt kauri gum mixed with animal fat. The pigments had been then stored in ornate containers referred to as oko, which became family members heirlooms. Oko had been usually buried when not in use.
The black pigment that was created from burnt wood was reserved solely for facial tattoos even though these created from bugs or burnt gum was utilized for outlines and other much less revered tattoos. Ahead of the starting the tohunga ta moko would study the persons facial structure to determine on the most attractive style. As pointed out prior to, no two Maori tattoos are alike.

Maori tattoo can be pretty painful

Obtaining a Maori tattoo applied was a pretty painful knowledge. Initially deep cuts had been incised into the skin and then the chisel was dipped into the pigment and tapped into the cuts. An additional variation on this method involved dipping the chisel into the jar of pigment and inserting it into the skin by striking the finish with a mallet. This manner of tattooing leaves the skin with grooves soon after healing, alternatively of the usual smooth surface left soon after needlepoint tattoos.
Maori tattoo was as soon as a lengthy and labour intensive method, due to the fact it was pretty painful only a handful of components of the physique had been tattooed at a time to permit healing. There are two styles for the Maori tattoos – the typical style only involved the blackening of the lines while the second referred to as for blackening the background and leaving the lines clear – this was referred to as puhoro.

Maori tattoo is pretty sacred

Due to the sacred nature of the Maori tattoo, these who had been undergoing the method, and these involved in the method, could not consume with their hands or speak to any one aside from the other people today getting tattooed. These who had been getting tattoos created it a point to not cry out in discomfort, due to the fact to do so was a sign of weakness. Getting capable to withstand the discomfort was pretty crucial in terms of pride for Maori people today.
There had been other guidelines and regulations about getting tattooed, specifically even though undergoing a facial operate. Quite a few Maori had to abstain from sexual intimacy even though undergoing the rite, and had to prevent all strong foods. In order to meet these needs, the particular person was fed from a wooden funnel to avoid foodstuffs from contaminating the swollen skin. A particular person would be fed in this manner till the facial wounds had completely healed.
Since the face was usually bleeding and pretty swollen, the leaves of the karaka tree had been usually utilized as a balm that was applied soon after the session had completed, to hasten the healing method. The tattooing was usually accompanied by music, singing and chanting to support soothe the discomfort.

The primary concentrate

The focal point of Maori tattooing was frequently the face. Guys had complete facial tattoos, even though ladies only had their chin, lips and nostrils tattooed. Some Maori also had other components of the physique tattooed, such as their back, buttocks and legs. Ladies had been much more usually identified to tattoo their arms, neck and thighs.

Maori tattoo and social status

Only people today of rank or status had been permitted to have, and could afford to have, tattoos. A particular person who did not have any higher-ranking social status, such as a slave, could not have a face tattoo. These who had the implies to get a tattoo but did not had been noticed as people today of decrease social status.
The Maori facial tattoo was not only noticed as a sign of rank although, but was also utilized as a sort of identification card. For guys, their face tattoo showed their accomplishments, status, position, ancestry and marital status. It is regarded very insulting to be unable to recognise a person’s energy and position by his moko.
The male facial moko or tattoo is frequently divided into eight sections of the face:

  • The centre of the forehead referred to as the ngakaipikirau, designated a person’s common rank
  • The location beneath the brows, referred to as ngunga, designated his position
  • The location about his eyes and nose, uirere, designated his hapu, or sub-tribe rank
  • The location about the temples, uma, served to detail his marital status, like the quantity of marriages he had
  • The location beneath the nose, raurau, displayed the man’s signature that was as soon as memorised by tribal chiefs who utilized it when getting home, signing deeds and officiating orders
  • The cheek location, or taiohou, showed the nature of the person’s operate
  • The chin location, wairua, showed the person’s mana or prestige
  • Lastly, the jaw location or taitoto designated a person’s birth status
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It can also be noted that a person’s ancestry is indicated on each and every side of the face. The left side is frequently the father’s side and the suitable side the mother’s. Noble or note-worthy descent was a principal requirement prior to a moko was undertaken.
If a single side of a person’s ancestry was not of rank, the corresponding side of the face would not have any style tattooed on it. And if the particular person undertaking the moko has no rank, or is not heir to something of note then the centre of the forehead would be left with out style.

Maori tattoo as art

By the mid 19th century, complete facial moko for guys declined in terms of frequency, but for ladies they persisted all through the 20th century. Considering the fact that the 1990s, Maori tattooing has seasoned resurgence, usually getting accomplished with the use of contemporary machines.
Considering the fact that tribal-patterns of tattoo grew in recognition in the late 1990s, early 2000s, much more and much more non-Maori are copying styles and incorporating in their personal art. Considering the fact that then, much more conventional Maori art has created a comeback and people today are inserting their personal meanings and themes into the much more conventional art operate.
Most of these contemporary Maori tattoos use needle-primarily based machines, rather than the conventional tools and procedures pointed out above.

Maori tattooing and tradition lives on

The Maori people today have revived the old procedures of tattooing in an work to preserve their cultural heritage. Each guys and ladies have now come to be involved in the conventional practice. The art organisation identified as Te Uhi a Mataora was lately established by conventional Maori practitioners.
Te Uhi a Mataora envision the retention and additional improvement of ta moko as a living art type. Their primary concern is the increasing practice of ta moko by non-Maori people today. They strive to propagate the art type by reviving old traditions and preserving old procedures and styles. They also inform other individuals that Maori tattooing is a cultural symbol, and really should not be taken lightly.
If you are a non-Maori who admires Maori artwork and tattooing and desires to have a single accomplished it is advisable to seek out a Maori tattoo artist with adequate information of ta moko. We have extensively seasoned Maori artists right here at Zealand Tattoo who are capable to style you a custom, however conventional, Maori style that is respectful and in honour of conventional Maori.

Maori styles and meanings

The style of Te Ora O Maui

This myth or legend outlines the concept that Maui was the final born out of 5 boys. When he was born his mother believed that he was a stillborn so she reduce off her topknot, or bun, wrapped him in it and threw him out to sea.
Maui ultimately washed up on the shore and was identified by a tohanga who brought Maui up and taught him a lot of crucial items like how to reside off the sources of the land and the transformation into birds.
Maui learnt a lot of tactics pretty promptly and became an specialist at anything he discovered, specifically the art of navigation. Maui accomplished a terrific a lot of accomplishments in his lifetime such as the slowing down of Tama Nuitera and providing the planet longer days, getting fire from Mahuika or the God of Fire and nearly securing immortality for all man sort from the maiden of the terrific darkness, Hine Nuitepo.
This Maori style represents Maui fishing up or discovering Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand.

The style of Pikorua

The term pikorua is Maori for the development and joining with each other of two unique items e.g. the earth and the sea.
Some iwi (tribes) believed it wasTangaroa and Papatuanuku who had been with each other in the starting. Maori people today think that we came from Mother Earth and a single day we go back to her, as the tattoo style depicts all rivers ultimately lead to the ocean.
So it is believed that in life, we all take unique paths and there are a lot of unique bends that we all finish up in the identical location. This Maori tattoo is a representation of life and journey that it requires.

The style of Nga Hau E Wha

This tattoo style is a representation of the 4 corners of the earth and nga hau e wha – the 4 winds.
Tawhirimatea and Tangaroa are two Maori gods or Atua have the energy to destroy something in their path and they have accomplished so on a lot of occasions. No matter what your beliefs in life may perhaps be, this nonetheless applies to all mankind. It is all about respecting what God has offered us, regardless of how major or little you are.
Aotearoa, is a location for all people today of all races and creeds. Tamanuitera represents new development and warmth and Hei Matua is strength and prosperity in what ever you need to do and koru is a continuation of all of these items.

The style of Te Timatanga

According to the Maori, in the starting there had been Rangi and Papa and they had a lot of kids. As the kids grew older they required much more space to move.
A single day, Tumatauenga decided he wanted to component his parents, this would permit them to have light and also they could move about freely. All of the Gods and brothers attempted to component with their parents with the exception of Ruaumoko who was a child in his mothers womb with each other with Tawhirimatea, who opposed the concept. Firstly, Tumatauenga attempted and failed and ultimately it came to Tanemahuta who was prosperous.
Tawhirimatea who opposed went to reside with his father and he periodically punishes his brothers with storms. In addition, there was Ruamoko who nonetheless resides with his mother and from time to time he also punishes Tana with his earthquakes.
In spite of the tiny quantity of information and facts that we have on the origins of the Maori tattoo, it has a wealthy recorded history. A number of books have been published about the topic of Maori tattoos considering that the initially time European’s saw it. The books, such as these my the aforementioned Significant Basic Robley as nicely as Michael King and John Rutherford have helped in preserving the significance and interest in Maori tattoos. The lack of definite origins appears to add much more mystique to this currently captivating type of early art. Probably it is that mystery which has created the Maori tattoo endure.

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Prevalent Stand-Alone Maori styles

Koru (spiral):

The koru depicts new beginnings, development and harmony, taken from the symbolism of an unfurled fern leaf. New Zealand has some of the most stunning ferns in the planet.

Hei matau (fish hook):

The Maori symbols or which means or hei matau, much more typically identified as the fish hook symbolises prosperity. Maori use fish in a lot of of their conventional meals dishes. Fish had been so plentiful to the Maori that the very simple ownership of a fish hook meant prosperity. The fish hook also represents strength, determination and great well being, as nicely as supplying secure journey more than water.

Single twist:

The Maori symbols or which means for the single twist represents the path of life, it is the symbol of eternity. The single figure eight is unique than the double and triple twists pointed out beneath.

Double or triple twist:

These twists represent the joining with each other of two people today, or two cultures for eternity and even although they may perhaps knowledge life’s up and downs they stay bonded by friendship and loyalty for life (a favourite of the Maori symbols).


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