Designs Accessed from: www.deviant.com
Left: Tribal Circle by Cyberduality
Left: Maori taonga by Cyberduality
Left: Tortue by Gotyss
Body by Bern Z Maori Male
Body by Bern Z Maori Fe-Male
The Tattoo (Ta Moko)
Maori Moko, scanned from John Rutherford: The White Chief (pre-1923)
This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide. (Wikipedia)
The designs above show that the Maori culture and their love for Tattoo designs is still very much current and alive today. Although the Maori People have a long history of Tattooing within their culture.
The word 'Tattoo' comes from the Tahitian word "Tatau" and Captain James Cook documented his witnessing of tattooing for the first time in Tahti in 1769.
According to Maori mythology a love affair between a young man by the name of Mataora ('Face of Vitality') and a young princess of the underworld named Niwareka, was the beginning of their Tattoo History.
Niwareka left Mataora after he beat her and ran back to her father's realm (Uetonga).
Heartbroken Mataora followed her, facing many obstacles but eventually arrived at Uetonga
with messy face paint and dirty. Niwareka's family taunted and mocked Mataora and in his humbled state he begged for Niwareka to forgive him. Eventually she did. Niwareka's father offered to teach Mataora the art of Tattooing and also the art of Taniko the plaiting of cloak borders in many colours.
Mataora and Miwareka returned together to the human world, bringing with them the Arts of Ta Moko and Taniko.
Tattooing came to New Zealand from Eastern Polynesian culture, according to archaeological evidence.
Bone Chisels were used for tattooing and have been found in archaeological sites of various ages in New Zealand, as well as in many Eastern Polynesian sites. Even though the Maori people did practice the Art of Tattooing there's no evidence that the Moriori people did.
The wider chisel blades show that rectilinear tattoo patterns were preferred in the earlier days.
The 'head' was considered the most sacred part of the body. All the high ranking Maori chiefs were tattooed and those who weren't had no social status.
Because of the blood letting the tattooist or 'tohunga-ta-oko' were considered 'Tapu' in a way 'untouchable'.