You might have noticed that over the last couple of years
there has been a major increase in the amount of people getting a Maori Tattoo, some will go for a temporary tattoo while others will go for
a more permanent one. Many people like the designs of Maori Tattoos &
see it as a kind of tattoo art which they
have embraced although some Maoris don’t agree with
non Maori people getting
Maori tattoos which they don’t know anything about.
You see, Maori tattoos or Ta Moko
aren’t just a form of art, they actually mean something, they are a sign which
the next person can interpret.Maori tattoo meanings
are varied, they could be used as a form of identification, tribal
history, rank or eligibility to marry & many more uses.
Many of us will look at tattoo design websites before we decide to buy a tattoo.
Because of their popularity,
Maori tribal tattoos are
worn in the west justfor their pretty designs but they have lost their true meanings to non Maoris.
It must make some people laugh that certain famous people are now getting these
tattoos but don’t know their true meaning. So if you’re thinking about getting
one of these Maori tattoos, make sure you look up the
meaning first before you get inked. It's better to be safe
If you've already gotten one of these tattoos and you've just figured out that
it means something which does not suit you or who you are then you may need to
look into information on how to hide a tattoo. Be warned though, sometimes
covering up a tattoo can be just as bad as getting it removed. It just goes to
show that studying Maori tattoo history is better than taking any chances in the
There is renewed interest in Maori culture
that has encouraged a resurgence in traditional Maori tattoos. The tattoos or 'mokos'
originate back to pre-colonial times when they detailed ancestry lines and
The practice of tattooing by the Maori people is truly ancient, they’ve been
doing it for generations & it is a part of their
culture even to this day. Another form of body art is known as “Ta Moko”, which
is not the same as tattoos but something completely different. The
Ta Moko is the process
of marking the body permanently with certain designs by using phi
(chisels) to carve the skin rather than puncture it. Once
finished, the skin has grooves rather than a smooth surface which can be seen
Today the art of Ta Moko is not really practiced by
non-Maoris who have opted for the normal Maori tattoo
instead. Many Maori people are starting to revive their culture
& language & some are opting to have these tattoos on their faces like their
ancestors. Many westerners will get the
Maori tattoo on their arms or other parts of their
bodies but will generally avoid getting one on their faces. You’d need to be
pretty brave to get one of these on your face.
If you’re not brave enough to get one of these on the face then you should know
that some Maori women were traditionally allowed to get tattoos on the nostril
or lips. These tattoos were usually worn to signify
beauty. Traditionally men with a lot of tattoos or Ta Moko on the face were
generally very important people like warriors or chiefs. Many of these tattoos
on the face were also designed to frighten their enemies & its easy to see why,
they can be quite frightening to non-Maoris. If you're
thinking about getting one of these on the face then I'd think again.
Maori Culture & Tattoos
Although Maori tattoos can be seen as a beautiful piece of art, they are far
more than art to the Maori people; they are part of their culture & should be
respected as such. So, if you’re thinking about getting a Maori tattoo in the
future, don’t rush in, study the Maori culture first, don't
just get celebrity tattoos as they don't really get it either. Get the
true meaning of that Maori tattoo before you get
Also, Maori culture is becoming
more & more popular year by year so its only a matter of time before many people
in the west are going to know what these Maori tattoos
really mean and as tattoos are for life you don’t really want to be walking
around with a tattoo that means something like eligible to marry when you’re
already married. So be careful when choosing a Maori tattoo & respect the Maori
culture like it should be respected. Once you study their culture & know what
their symbols mean then wearing a Maori tattoo will
mean a lot more than just wearing something that looks cool & you’ll appreciate it a lot more.
Maori tattoo designs have a very rich and powerful
culture carried with them all the way to the present times. The
Maoris were the natives of New Zealand and were known for their
intricate facial designs & body tattoo
Barista and tattoo artist Danny Dowling-Mitchell. Heather, tattooed by Rod Dawson of Stained Skin (L) and Janine, tattooed by Erin Chance of Sacred Tattoo. Singer Ben Harper, who took a Maori tattoo to the world.