Ta Moko

Ta moko, which are traditional Māori tattoos represent a person's "whakapapa" or ancestry. In earlier times, it was used to indicate one's social rank, skills, knowledge, and whether they were eligible for marriage. Traditionally, tattoos are applied to men on their faces and thighs.

Women usually get tattoos on their chin, lips, and throat. In Maori culture, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, so having a tattoo on the face has special significance. Moko can also be applied to other parts of the body such as the calves, back, stomach, neck, and forehead. There are different designs and symbols that one can tattoo, and each one has a unique meaning behind it. The main lines in the tattoo are called, 'manawa." It symbolizes the journey of one's life. The "koru" which looks like an unfurling silver fern, symbolizes the unfolding of one's life journey or it can also be directed to one's family member or someone who is dear to you. As moko is a tradition that signifies Maori identity, history, and prestige, only tattoos that are made by and on Māori people are called Moko. For people, who make these tattoos for artistic reasons without any traditional meaning, they are known as "kirituhi" or skin art



Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace