The DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION of the CITY of NIZHNY NOVGOROD MUNICIPAL BUDGET INSTITUTION gymnasium № 136 603065, Nizhny Novgorod, Diakonov St, 1B, Tel.: 53-53-09
Students’ Scientific Society
A CUSTOM OR
A PIECE OF ART
Written by Lubov Orlova
Headed by G.I. Emelova
Introduction …………………………………………………….. 3-4
Chapter 1 Who Are the Maori People………………………….. 5-6
Chapter2 Maori Tattoo…………………………………………. 7-8
2.1 History of Maori Tattooing………………………………… 8-9
2.2 Maori Tattoo Instruments………………………………….. 9-11
2.3 What Tattoos Mean. Who Is Tattooed …………………………. 11-15
Chapter 3 Maori Tattoo: a Custom or a Piece of Art……………16-17
Chapter 4 Ta Moko Today………………………………………18-21
Chapter 5 Practical part………………………………………… 22-
Selective Research Bibliography………………………………….
According to the English dictionary for advanced learners “tattoo is….. ”. The word “tattoo” comes from the Tahitian word “tatau”. Captain James Cook used the word “tattow” when he witnessed tattooing for the first time in Tahiti, in 1769.
In the Maori language “tattoo” means “ta moko”, literally the word “ta moko” is translated as “ to strike or to tap”. Maori Tattoos are amongst the most unique tattoo designs and most advanced skin art designs in the world. Maori Tattoo design clearly has its own distinct identity within the various other types of Polynesian Tattoos. Historically, tattooing was considered a sacred art among the Maori people of New Zealand and probably originated in the East Polynesian Islands. Maori art consists of curved shapes and spirals in intricate patterns and has deep spiritual meanings of cultural significance. Traditional Maori tattooing was known as “ta moko” and was carved into the skin with bone chisels (uhi) or knives using a ‘tapping’ method of application. I think the topic is of present interest, because tattooing is widely spread not only among Maori people, but a lot of famous singers and film stars use Maori tattoos. Besides, teens are crazy about Maori tattoos, they don’t know the meaning of the tattoos but have them carved into their skin.
The purpose of my work is: to find as much as possible information about Maori tattoo and to analyse it and to answer the question “Maori Tattoo Is a Custom or a Piece of Art.”
The following item will be researched in the work: popularity of tattooing with famous film stars, pop singers and teens. Besides, the most important factors affected the studied item will be researched in the work: history of Maori tattoos, Maori tattoo instruments, their meaning and present day tattooing.
The following methods will be used in my work: comparative research, discursive analyses. The research is based on the analyses of various source of information, such as tattoos of Maori specialists (tohunda –ta moko specialists), the internet resource, photos, articles from books and magazines.
The work consists of introduction, theoretical and practical chapters, conclusion, selective research bibliography and appendix. Some facts about the Maori people, their language, traditions and their culture is given in the theoretical part. The Maori are the first inhabitants of Aotearoa – the most widely known Maori name for New Zealand, which means “the land of the long white cloud.” The Maori Language Act 1987 declared Maori to be an ‘official’ language and created a right to use Maori in court proceedings. Having arrived in New Zealand they created their own culture and traditions and art. Tattooing is one of the pieces of art of Maori people. Practical part contains different kinds of tattoos.
CHAPTER 1 WHO ARE THE MAORI PEOPLE?
The Maori are the first inhabitants of Aotearoa – the most widely known Maori name for New Zealand, which means “the land of the long white cloud.” Their ancestors were the East Polynesian people; they were hunters, fishers and gardeners. The long and distinctive history has made them as one of the most daring and resourceful adventurers of all time. A proud spirit, warmth, quick humor, great art and a deep sense of history – these qualities are gathered in Maori culture, which was isolated from the rest of the world for a long time. There are number of theories about the origins of the Maori. Legends say that they came from “Hawaiki” about 1000 years ago. The word “Hawaiki” features in the mythology as the homeland of the Maori, before they travelled across the sea to New Zealand. The most popular mass migration theory is called “The Great Fleet”. In 1350 the group of Polynesians took a fleet of several canoes to get to New Zealand and according to legend, this fleet arrived from the mythical home of Hawaiki. Some believe that the first settlers found Aotearoa probably by chance or mistake as they could have been blown off in one of their navigation. Most of historians affirm that Maori ancestors migrated from China, travelled via Taiwan, the Philippines to Indonesia, onto Melanesia, reaching Fiji, from there to Samoa and on to the Marquesas, then turned South West to Tahiti, then to the Cook Island and finally to New Zealand while anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl claims that they arrived via America.
The Maori Language Act 1987 declared Maori to be an ‘official’ language and created a right to use Maori in court proceedings. This article provides a perspective of the history, current use, and likely future of the Maori in the light of the new legislation. Maori is the foundation language of New Zealand, the ancestral language of the “tangata whenua” and one of the “taonga” guaranteed protection under the Treaty of Waitangi (1840). It also provides this country with a unique language identity in the rest of the world, as this is the only place where Maori is spoken widely. In more tangible terms, the Maori language is a powerful social force for the reconstruction of a damaged and deteriorated self-image among Maori youth, a vehicle of contribution to society, and therefore a means of regaining dignity. Finally, human freedom is dependent at all levels on choice and diversity; linguistic pluralism can be nothing other than a guardian of individual freedom and identity against the forces of conformism. Although detailed statistics are not yet available, it is estimated that some 50,000 New Zealanders, almost all of Maori descent, are fluent speakers of Maori, while perhaps a further 100,000 understand the language. While such a figure exceeds the numbers of native speakers of many other indigenous languages in the South Pacific and elsewhere, the picture is far less reassuring when one considers the age profile of Maori speakers: about 40 percent are aged 55 and above, whilst approximately the same percentage are between 35 and 54 years of age. It is equally alarming that there are probably 10,000 fewer fluent speakers of Maori today than just 10 years ago. In terms of absolute numbers, Auckland has the lion’s share of Maori speakers, accounting for almost a third of North Island figures. But areas of concentration are also to be found in the secondary urban centres and rural communities of Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and East Cape.
Maori makes up 14.6% of the population. Their total number is 565329. For 15 years (1991-2006), the number of the people in the country grew by almost 30%. About 47% of their number are descendants of mixed marriages (mainly Europeans). 51% Maori living in New Zealand are men, 49% are women. 35% of them are children under 15 years of age. The average age of the Maori people in New Zealand is approximately 23 years. At the same time, the average age of women, slightly more than 24 years, while the average age of the male population is a little over 21 years. About 87 per cent of Maori live on the North Island and around 25% live in the city of Oakland or in its outskirts. The largest concentration of Maori people is on the island of Chatham. 23% could speak the Maori language fluently. About 25% of them do not speak at all. About 4 per cent of Maori have a university degree. About 39% of the total population of Maori have permanent full-time jobs.
CHAPTER 2 MAORI TATOO
Tattooing is considered a sacred act, and must — like any other cultural symbol — be respected. The word “tattoo” comes from the Tahitian word “tatau”. Captain James Cook used the word “tattow” when he witnessed tattooing for the first time in Tahiti, in 1769.
Maori Tattoos are amongst the most unique tattoo designs and most advanced skin art designs in the world. Maori Tattoo design (Ta Moko) clearly has its own distinct identity within the various other types of Polynesian Tattoos. Historically, tattooing was considered a sacred art among the Maori people of New Zealand and probably originated in the East Polynesian Islands. Maori art consists of curved shapes and spirals in intricate patterns and has deep spiritual meanings of cultural significance. Traditional Maori tattooing was known as “Ta Moko” and was carved into the skin with bone chisels (uhi) or knives using a ‘tapping’ method of application. The ink for the body was made from an organism that is half vegetable, half caterpillar (the caterpillar is infected by a certain type of fungus that starts growing out of its head, killing the caterpillar). The ink for the face was darker (black) and was made of burned wood.
Most often the Tattoo designs consisted of bold spiral patterns covering the face, buttocks and legs of Maori men. The women normally received tattoos on the lips, chin and on some occasions they were applied to the neck and back.
Over the last 20 years, Maori Tattoo has had an explosive resurge where many famous musicians (Robbie Williams, Ben Harper) have chosen to brand themselves with this Art form alongside high profile sports people (Mike Tyson, New Zealand All Black Rugby players).
With this in mind, Maori tattoo design is also one of Zealand’s key areas of specialization. We can say that Maori tattoo design is one of the best ‘Tribal’ Art styles in the world if we compare the form and features of Maori Art against the likes of Borneo Tribal markings, Inuit Indian markings, Buddhist Scriptural Tattoos, Aztec designs, Aboriginal markings and African scarifications.
None of the aforementioned tribal or native styles are flowing like Maori tattoo design and overall Maori art is more ergonomical to fit the body shape. Of all art styles, Maori tattoo design can be the most likened to Oriental tattoo design given its body form fitting sculptured shape and patterns, such as Japanese ‘Koruing’ clouds.
The history of Maori Tattoos comes all the way to us from New Zealand and was introduced in 1769. In the Maori culture, it was a symbol of strength and high ranking to display various tattoos. The most common location for them was on the head. A full facial tattoo was very common. This took a great deal of time to complete. The individual had to consume only liquids to allow the facial area to completely heal.
2.1 History of Maori tattooing
According to archaeological evidence, tattooing came to New Zealand from Eastern Polynesian culture. The bone chisels used for tattooing can be found in archaeological sites of various ages in New Zealand, as well as in some early Eastern Polynesian sites. Although the Māori practiced tattooing, there is no evidence that the Maori people invented it.
In New Zealand, it is in the early sites that the widest chisel blades are found, and they prove the theory that there was possibly a preference towards rectilinear tattoo patterns in earlier times.
According to Maori mythology, tattooing commenced with a love affair between a young man by the name of Mataora (which means “Face of Vitality”) and a young princess of the underworld by the name of Niwareka. One day however, Mataora beat Niwareka, and she left Mataroa, running back to her father’s realm which was named “Uetonga”. Mataora, filled with guilt and heartbreak followed after his princess Niwareka. After many trials, and after overcoming numerous obstacles, Mataora eventually arrived at the realm of “Uetonga”, but with his face paint messed and dirty after his voyage. Niwareka’s family taunted and mocked Mataora for his bedraggled appearance. In his very humbled state, Mataora begged Niwareka for forgiveness, which she eventually accepted. Niwareka’s father then offered to teach Mataora the art of tattooing, and at the same time Mataora also leant the art of Taniko – the plaiting of cloak borders in many colours.
Mataora and Niwareka thus returned together to the human world, bringing with them the arts of ta moko and taniko.
The head was considered the most sacred part of the body, and because tattooing caused blood to run the tattoo craftsmen, or “tohunga-ta-мoko”, were very tapu persons. All high-ranking Maori were tattooed, and those who went without tattoos were seen as persons of no social status.
Tattooing commenced at puberty, accompanied by many rites and rituals. In addition to making a warrior attractive to women, the tattoo practice marked both rites of passage and important events in a person’s life.
There were certain prohibitions during the tattooing process, and for the facial tattoo in particular sexual intimacy and the eating of solid foods were prohibited. In order to overcome this, liquid food and water was drained into a wooden funnel, to ensure that no contaminating product came into contact with the swollen skin. This was also the only way the tattooed person could eat until his or her wounds healed.
The full faced tattoo was very time consuming, and a good tattoo craftsman would carefully study a person’s bone structure before commencing his art.
2.2Maori Tattoo Instruments
The tattooing instruments used by the Maoris were small chisel-shaped pieces of bone, shell, or metal that were dipped in pigment and then struck with a mallet. Originally tohunga-tā-moko (moko specialists) used a range of uhi (chisels – See Photo1) made from albatross bone which were hafted onto a handle, and struck with a mallet. The pigments were made from the awheto for the body colour, and ngarehu (burnt timbers) for the blacker face colour. The soot from burnt kauri gum was also mixed with fat to make pigment. The pigment was stored in ornate vessels named oko, which were often buried when not in use. The oko were handed on to successive generations. Men were predominantly the tā moko specialists, although King records a number of women during the early 20th century who also took up the practice. There is also a remarkable account of a woman prisoner-of-war in the 1830s who was seen putting moko on the entire back of the wife of a chief.
In order to get the scarred ridges and grooves that identified moko it was necessary for the instrument to penetrate deeply into the flesh, and cuts were sometimes so deep that they went through the cheek. The pain was intense and there was a lot of blood, but it was a point of pride with Maori warriors never to flinch or make a sound while being tattooed. The Maori took tattooed heads of their enemies as trophies during war and kept them in ornately carved ceremonial boxes. In the first decade of the 19th century, Europeans made regular contact with Maori tribes along the coast. The tattoo ink for the body color was made from an organism that is half vegetable, half caterpillar, the caterpillar is infected by a certain kind of fungus that starts growing out of its head, killing the caterpillar. The darker, black tattoo ink used for the face was made of burned wood. By the end of the 19th century, other tattoo equipment like tattoo needles began to set in. Maori tattooing would usually start at adolescence, and was used to celebrate important events throughout life. The first tattoo marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and was done during a series of rites and rituals. Tattoo art was an important part of the Maori culture – in fact, people without tattoos were considered to be without status or worth. Needless to say, tattooing by making incisions with a chisel was a painful process, but traditional Maori tattoos were meant to be more than decorative – they were a show of strength, courage and status. Both men and women were tattooed, though women substantially less (maybe because there was less of a need for them to show courage) and on other places (usually the lips and chin). The process of Maori tattooing was a ritual, with music, chant and fasting – in fact, fasting was more or less a necessity, because the face would swell up from the wounds caused by the tattooing process! The tattoo specialists in the Maori culture were usually men, although there are some women who also were tohunga ta moko – moko specialists. The Maori traditions such a tattooing lost much of its significance after the coming of European settlers. Ta moko for men stopped being popular somewhere in the middle of the 19th century. Moko for women continued throughout the 20th century. Since the 1990s the Maori culture and traditions are having a revival and the traditional Maori tribe tattooing is all but extinct, Maori tattoos have made a comeback and are popular again, including the old tattoo equipment like chisels. In the west, Maori-inspired tattoos are in vogue as well. Many of us appreciate the bold statement that Maori tattoo designs make, and this style of tribal tattooing is growing in popularity. Modern Maori tattoos are usually found on the body rather than the face, and usually modern tattoo equipment and ink are used – but the traditional ta moko inspired designs have a universal and timeless appeal. The Pākehā ractice of collecting and trading Mokomokai (tattooed heads) changed the dynamic of tā moko in the early colonial period. King (see below) talks about changes which evolved in the late 19th century when needles came to replace the uhi as the main tools. This was a quicker method, less prone to possible health risks, but the feel of the tā moko changed to smooth.
2.3 What do tattoos mean? Who is tattooed?
Ta Moko is similar to an identity card, or passport. For men, the Moko showed their rank, their status and their ferocity, or virility. The wearer’s position of power and authority could be instantly recognized in his Moko. Certain other outward signs, combined with a particular Moko, could instantly define the «identity card» of a person. For example, a chief with Moko and at the same time wearing a dog cloak could be identified as a person of authority, in charge of warriors. These were undeniable signs of the «identity card». It would be considered a great insult if the person was not recognized as the chief he was, and this could lead to «utu» — vengeance.
The male facial tattoo — Moko — is generally divided into eight sections :
Ngakaipikirau (rank). The center forehead area
Ngunga (position). Around the brows
Uirere (hapu rank). The eyes and nose area
Uma (first or second marriage). The temples
Raurau (signature). The area under the nose
Taiohou (work). The cheek area
Wairua (mana). The chin
Taitoto (birth status). The jaw
Ancestry is indicated on each side of the face. The left side is generally (but not always, depending on the tribe) the father’s side, while the right hand side indicates the mother’s ancestry. Descent was a foremost requirement before a Moko could be undertaken.
If one side of a person’s ancestry was not of rank, that side of the face would have no Moko design. Likewise if, in the centre forehead area there is no Moko design, this means the wearer either has no rank, or has not inherited rank.
Maori Tattoos are amongst the most unique tattoo designs and most advanced skin art designs in the world. Maori Tattoo design (Ta Moko) clearly has its own distinct identity within the various other types of Polynesian Tattoos.
Most often the Tattoo designs consisted of bold spiral patterns covering the face, buttocks and legs of Maori men. The women normally received tattoos on the lips, chin and on some occasions they were applied to the neck and back.
With this in mind, Maori tattoo design is also one of Zealand’s key areas of specialization. Maori tattoo design is one of the best ‘Tribal’ Art styles in the world. Compare the form and features of Maori Art against the likes of Borneo Tribal markings, Inuit Indian markings, Buddhist Scriptural Tattoos, Aztec designs, Aboriginal markings and African scarifications.
Traditional Maori Tattoos (aka Ta Moko) were also used to signify the onset of puberty. Women of the Ta Moko tribe were attracted to warriors who featured various tattoos. Traditional Maori tattoos also signified the various rites of passage, bravery, and special events that took place in a young man’s life.
Mokos identified the rank of males in the tribe. It also refers to their fertility. The authority a tribe member had could be told by their Moko. This was generally found on the chin area. The sides of the face often indicated the ancestry of the tribe member. Maori persons without tattoos were seen as from a lower social status.
It was an extremely painful and long process, and often leaves from the native Karaka tree were placed over the swollen tattoo cuts to hasten the healing process. Wars were frequent, and the warriors had little time for recuperation. During the tattooing process, flute music and chant poems were performed to help soothe the pain.
Although the tattoos were mainly facial, the North Auckland warriors included swirling double spirals on both buttocks, often leading down their legs until the knee. The women were not as extensively tattooed as the men. Their upper lips were outlined, usually in dark blue. The nostrils were also very finely incised. The chin moko was always the most popular, and continued to be practiced even into the 1970s.
Maori men on the other hand could get tattooed just about anywhere. They were allowed to have a full facial Moko which just about covered all of the front of the face, again today this type of tattoo would be extremely rare. Traditionally Maori warriors of higher ranks were usually the only ones who could afford such a facial display. Yes, even back then the tattoo artist had to get paid for his work somehow so very few low ranking warriors would have had the resources to pay for such an extravagance.
As stated before, the Maori tattoo artists were sacred members of the tribe. But why? Well, in the Maori culture, the head (and face) was regarded as the most sacred of all body parts. Add to that fact that in the process of administering a tattoo, the artist would cause their blood to run freely, and it isn’t hard to understand what gave these artists their nearly «untouchable» status.
It was the duty of the tohunga-ta-oko to tattoo all of the high ranking members of the tribe. In fact, they tattooed most of the tribe’s population, men and women included. Maori members without their signature markings were seen as people without social status, below even the ranks of poor.
In the tribe of the Maori people, tattooing began at about the same time that puberty sat it. Being sacred, the act of getting a tattoo was also enmeshed with many religious rites and rituals. In the hierarchy of the people, tattoos bore a two-fold purpose. First, tattoos were sought after to make warriors more attractive to the women of the tribe. Secondly, tattoos served as markers for rites of passage and other monumental moments throughout the lives of the warriors and even their mates.
To receive a facial tattoo in the Maori culture, there were some special rules. A big part of the process was abstaining not only from solid foods, but also from sexual intercourse or intimacy. The first part, abstaining from solid foods, played a dual role. Not only did this period of near-fasting better prepare the soul for the infliction of the tattoo, but it also served to prevent both contamination and disease of the tattooed.
Facial tattoos were painful and required time to heal. To keep the wounds clean and the warrior strong, liquid food were served to the bearer of the new facial tattoo through a wooden funnel. Through it, liquefied foods and water were served to the proud but pained recipient. The second part, abstaining from sexual intercourse was primarily to prepare the soul, but may have also been a preventative measure against contamination, infection and disease.
The choosing of the design was not, however, an easy process. Unlike getting a mundane tattoo now, Maori tattoos took months of approval and planning on the part of the elders and other family members. First the elders decided whether one was worthy of receiving a moko. One of the questions they need answered with an unwavering yes was: «Are they committed to wearing their tribal identity on their body for the rest of their life?» Then the design process would begin by taking into account the tribal history, which was the most important component of the moko.
MAORI TATTOO: A CUSTOM OR A PIECE OF ART
Historically, tattooing was considered a sacred art among the Maori people of New Zealand and probably originated in the East Polynesian Islands.
Maori art consists of curved shapes and spirals in intricate patterns and has deep spiritual meanings of cultural significance.
According to the legends of the Maori people, tattoo was not an art created by man, but an art given as a gift to him by the ruler of the underworld realm.Maori tattoos are very beautiful, consisting of curved shapes and spirals in intricate patterns. Distinctive for Maori tattoo designs is the fact that they are based on the spiral and that they are curvilinear. The most prevalent place for a Maori tattoo was the face, probably a result of the cool New Zealand climate. Maori tattoos are among the most distinctive tattoos in the world and have their own identity amongst the Polynesian tattoos. Maori tattooing would usually start at adolescence, and was used to celebrate important events throughout life. The first tattoo marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and was done during a series of rites and rituals. Tattoo art was an important part of the Maori culture (Photo 4). In fact, people without tattoos were considered to be without status or worth.
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 and 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 inked.
Also, Maori culture is becoming more and more popular year by year so it’s 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 and respect the Maori culture like it should be respected. Once you study their culture and know what their symbols mean then wearing a Maori tattoo will mean a lot more than just wearing something that looks cool and you’ll appreciate it a lot more.
There has been a huge revival of traditional Maori tattoos, ta moko and other Maori cultural traditions. Since the cultural revival ta moko tattoo designs are becoming more and more what can be considered mainstream. A lot of non-Maori people are getting moko designs tattooed on their faces as well as other parts of their body, many of which have improper significance. Robbie Williams and Mike Tyson have gotten Maori tattoos much to the annoyance of many Maoris.
Maori tattoos have been practiced for over a thousand years, and have not only withstood time and but also colonization by Europeans. Maoris are the original inhabitants of New Zealand, known to them as Aotearoa or the land of the long white cloud. Ta moko (literally meaning to strike or tap) was used as a form of identification, rank, genealogy, tribal history, eligibility to marry, and marks of beauty or ferocity.
Ta moko weren’t merely tattooed upon their wearers; they were finely chiseled into the skin. The art preceded wood carvings, so accordingly the first of these wood carvings copied moko designs. Ta moko are most recognizably done on the face, although other parts of the body are also tattooed.
Hopefully, the Maori people will continue their efforts to keep this beautiful and interesting cultural art alive, the rest of the world can come to respect this sacred cultural ritual, and the two can come to an agreement about its use in today’s society.
CHAPTER 4 TA MOKO TODAY
Traditionally, Maori tattoos were carved into the skin using a small instrument made of albatross bone, and took months of careful, agonized planning. They were typically worn by men of high rank. Women who were tattooed were only allowed designs upon their lips, chin and nostrils. Today, however, the process of Ta Moko has become one of the most popular styles of ‘tribal’ tattooing (Photo 3). The designs associated with Maori tattoos have a definite aesthetic appeal, but to many people they mean a good deal more than that. They are often used as a symbol of cultural identity, and the designs used may represent things such as genealogy, history or even beauty (as full, blue hued lips have long been considered as the ‘ideal’ of female Maori beauty).
In the first decade of the 19th century, Europeans made regular contact with Maori tribes along the coast. By 1814, three missionaries decided to convert the Maories and one chief named Hongi was brought to England with a missionary, where he worked with a professor from Oxford to write a bilingual dictionary and translate the bible into the Maori language. When in England, Hongi was presented to polite society who admired his tattoos and King George IV granted him an audience and presented him with a trunk full of gifts as a reward for his efforts in spreading the gospel. On his way back to New Zealand, Hongi stopped off in Sydney, where he exchanged the King’s gifts for several hundred muskets and a large supply of ammunition. When he returned to New Zealand, he used his muskets to launch a series of raids against his traditional tribal foes. For a time his enemies were unable to resist him. Muskets were expensive, and Hongi’s enemies had little to trade for firearms. A ton of flax, which had to be laboriously scraped and dressed by hand, bought only one musket. The Maoris soon discovered, however, that European traders would trade a musket for a tattooed head. Soon Maori warriors made raids on neighboring tribes for the sole purpose of obtaining tattooed heads to trade for guns. The traders sold them to museums and private collections in Europe. As more Maoris acquired muskets, more heads became available, and business prospered. The supply of guns was inexhaustible, but the supply of heads was not, and before many years the Maoris were getting desperate. Slaves and commoners captured in battle were tattooed and killed so that their heads could be sold. And even heads of poor quality, with mediocre or unfinished tattooing, were offered for sale. Major General Horatio Robley is perhaps most well known for his eccentric collection. Robley decided to acquire as many mummified the tattooed heads as possible. Over the years he built a collection of 35. In 1908 he offered them to the New Zealand Government for £1,000 but his offer was denied. Today, 30 of his heads are in the collection of the Natural History Museum in New York. The Maoris were forced to give up their territory with the expansion of British settlement and they lost interest in tattooing and other traditional skills. In 1873, an artist named Gottfried Lindauer (1838-1926) arrived in New Zealand and was fascinated by the Maori. By the end of the 19th century, he had completed over 100 portraits which are now part of a priceless collection of the Auckland Art Gallery. His work is of great historical value because it is a precise record of some of the most artistic and sophisticated tattooing which was ever produced. Many of the Maori individuals who sat for their portraits had played leading roles during New Zealand’s formative years. The following excerpt is taken from Moko, or Maori Tattooing by Horatio G. Robley: Captain Cook wrote in 1769: «The marks in general are spirals drawn with great nicety and even elegance. One side corresponds with the other. The marks on the body resemble foliage in old chased ornaments, convolutions of filigree work, but in thee they have such a luxury of forms that of a hundred which at first appeared exactly the same no two were formed alike on close examination.» A draughtsman employed by Joseph Banks; Sydney Parkinson gave accounts on moko as it was in 1769. He said, «As to tattowing, it is done very curiously in spiral and other figures; and in many places it is indented into their skins which looks like carving, though at a distance it appears as it has been only smeared with a black paint.» The mode of tattooing practiced by the Maoris was unlike that of any other race, and their artistic designs were arranged so that the skin of the face was often completely covered up to the corners of the eyes, and even over the eyelids; and that the stains, though tending to diminish in brilliancy, were indelible. Moko for Maori men made attractive to women and conspicuous in war. The great chiefs had their faces and bodies covered with designs of extreme delicacy and beauty; and all the men, except the slaves, were decorated with blue-black.
Modern Maori tattoos (especially in the west) have moved from the face to the body. Long, twining spiral designs that were once placed near the ears or cheeks are now placed along the arms or legs (Photo2). However, many Maori people find exact replicas of their art insulting. For this reason, many people who are not affiliated with the Maoris prefer to use designs inspired, but not directly taken from, these traditional styles.
One way to separate the Maori tattoos, and what could possibly be an insulting western rendition is to use the striking spirals to create other symbols. For instance, rather than using the rounded and graceful spirals, you could make a squared off version, and create an interesting puzzle-like pattern. You could also use heavy lines and create a scene of waves, clouds, billowing winds, or even fire. Many people like to include reds and dark shades of blue into their designs; they will occasionally use orange and yellow as well if their patterns include things such as the sun, moon or stars. Metallic colors are generally used to produce weapon designs such as intricate knives, swords, or even throwing stars. Burgundy and purple can be used for a variety of spiraling flower blossoms. 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.
Because of their popularity, Maori tribal tattoos are worn in the west just for 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 than sorry.
Since 1990 there has been resurgence in the practice of tā moko for both men and women, as a sign of cultural identity and a reflection of the general revival of the language and culture. Most tā moko applied today is done using a tattoo machine, but there has also been a revival of the use of uhi. Women too have become more involved as practitioners, such as Christine Harvey of the Chathams, Henriata Nicholas in Rotorua and Julie Kipa in Whakatane.
Starting with Moehanga in 1805 then Hongi Hika and Te Pehi Kupe, and followed by several Pākehā Maori such as Barnet Burns, Europeans were introduced to the form early, but until relatively recently the art had little global impact. However, in recent years several high-profile uses of Maori designs by Robbie Williams, Ben Harper and a 2007 Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show were controversial. True moko is not taken lightly, and is considered to be sacred; this is why misappropriation by non-Maori is seen as a grave offence.
To reconcile the demand for Maori designs in a culturally sensitive way, the Te Uhi a Mataora group promotes the use of the term kirituhi, which has now gained wide acceptance: «…Kirituhi translates literally to mean — «drawn skin.» As opposed to Moko which requires a process of consents, genealogy and historical information, Kirituhi is merely a design with a Maori flavour that can be applied anywhere, for any reason and on anyone…»
CHAPTER 5 PRACTICAL PART
The Maori tribes are natives of New Zealand. Though, they are part of the Polynesian heritage, they have given themselves a distinct cultural heritage that historians have separated them from the different tribes of Polynesia. It is very much the same for their tattoo designs.
The Maori tribal tattoos have their own unique identity compared to their Polynesian counterparts. Their spirals and curved shapes form a very intricate pattern that very distinctive to the Maori tribes. Legend said that a young warrior learned the art of the Maori tribal tattoos from the lord of the underworld, after winning back the heart of the lord’s daughter.
For the Maori tribe, the tattoos are part of special rituals celebrating a particular or special event in one tribesman’s life. A tribesman would receive his or her first tattoo as a rite of passage from childhood to adolescent and would be added whenever there are significant events in his or her life that would need to be celebrated. A tribesman that would be awarded with a tattoo would go into fasting before he or she was given a tattoo. During the ceremony itself, there would be music and chanting as it is a celebration not only for that particular tribesman but for the whole tribe itself.
Both men and women of the tribe can be awarded with a tattoo as a show of courage, strength and would be given a specific status in the tribe. The tattoos of the men in particular would cover the whole face while the women would only cover the cheeks and the lips, though sometimes the tattoos for the women would cover the neck as well. It is said that the more tattoos a person have in his body, the higher his status is in their tribe. Tribesmen who do not have a tattoo in their bodies were considered worthless. Though women in the tribe have lesser tattoos in their bodies, it is mostly because they are not required to show much courage and strength and leave their men to it.
Maori tribal tattoos are mostly known for their face tattoos. But there are also tattoo designs that are used for the body specifically the legs and the buttocks. The body tattoos would be closely similar to the face tattoos with the small difference of the curves and spirals being bigger and more distinct than the face tattoos would be.
At present, the Maori tribal tattoos are being revived after it was almost extinct in the late 19th century. It has lost much of it significance during the arrival of the European settlers in New Zealand but is slowly being revived including the ancient way of putting on the tattoos. But today’s tribal tattoos are mostly placed on the body and are seldom being done on the face. The use of modern equipment to put the tattoos has also replaced the old ways. But even with the modernization of the Maori tribal tattoos, there is one thing that the Maori tribe had kept in their tradition. That is to keep a tattoo unique since a tattoo is a symbol of a person’s identity.
By using a moko pattern for your own tattoo design, you may be insulting the Maori people. It is never ok for a non-maori to wear a Maori tattoo pattern, even if it is done with respect. Maori tattoo patterns and symbols are a way of personal identification for the Maori people. By copying their designs you steal a part of their identity, what the Maori see as an insult. If you want a tattoo design in the Maori style, find a tattoo artist that has experience with Maori tattoos and knows about these issues. He can design a tattoo for you that has the looks of a moko without the Maori symbolic ties.
SELECTIVE RESEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. LITERATURE AND THE INTERNET RESOURCE
1. Hiroa, Te Rangi (Sir Peter Buck) The Coming of the Maori. (2nd ed.) Wellington: Whitcombe & Tombs,1950.
2. Jahnke, R. and H. T., «The politics of Maori image and design», Pukenga Korero (Raumati (Summer), vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 5–31, 2003 .
3. King, M., and Friedlander, M., Moko: Maori Tattooing in the 20th Century. (2nd ed.) Auckland: David Bateman. ISBN 1-86953-088-8, 1992.
4. Nikora, L. W., Rua, M., and Te Awekotuku, Ng., «Wearing Moko: Maori Facial Marking in Today’s World», in Thomas, N., Cole, A., and Douglas, B. 2005
5. Tattoo. Bodies, Art and Exchange in the Pacific and the West, London: Reacktion Books, pp. 191–204, 2007
6. Robley, Maj-Gen H. G., (1896). Moko, or Maori Tattooing. Digital edition from New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
7. Te Awekotuku, Ng., «Tā Moko: Maori Tattoo», in Goldie, exhibition catalogue, Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery and David Bateman, pp. 108–114, 1997
3. DICTIONARIES AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS
1. John Sinclair, Lorna Sinclair Knight. English Dictionary for Advanced Learners. Harper Collins Publishers, Westerhill Road, Glasgow, 2001. Page 900
2. Encyclopedia of New Zealand, v. 1—3, Wellington, 1966;
Photo 1 Chisels
Photo 2 Modern tribal Maori tattoo Photo 3 The tattoo design
Photo 4 Maori tattoos are a show of strength, courage and status