HE TAONGA TUKU IHO
A treasure handed down from our ancestors
Ta Moko is about telling stories and continuing traditions. Ta Moko is the distinctive skin marking inheritance of Maori which more recently has reclaimed its rightful spiritual place within the culture again.
You have the unique opportunity to receive these time-honoured marks from Ta Moko experts within our studio. Our Ta Moko artists honour the tradition they have been taught with their distinctive design language, that they expertly apply to weave your symbolic story to skin.
You do not need to be Maori to receive Ta Moko but you probably have some questions first ...
TĀ MOKO IS NOT TATTOO OR 'KIRITUHI'
Maori skin marking has an independent practice that pre-dated any modern tattoo whereas todays popular tattoo reflects the development of western cultural ideas. Ta Moko is not kirituhi and this modern word kirituhi does not serve us well. It misleads people to think that a tattooed copy of a Maori design, or sort-of-moko, or claims by a non-Maori that they 'know' moko, are authentic. A Maori Ta Moko artist should present you with the best of their Ta Moko heritage, nothing less.
Ta Moko is the continuous community and practice of design language and knowledge. Maori believe Ta Moko to be part of their bloodline. This connects us evermore to our very ancient Maori ancestors and their wisdom, and future generations.
THE BLUE PRIVILEGE
OUR SYMBOL OF INDIGENOUS PRIDE
HE MOKO KAHURANGI
HE WHAKAPAPA RANGATIRA
TĀ MOKO HAS A WHAKAPAPA BLOODLINE
The Ta Moko artist is foremost responsible to the knowledge of the distinctive design inheritance that belongs to Maori communities, where it is shared and developed amongst Maori masters and connected to many other things in the Maori world. The moko artists journey is not a one-off learning and it does not sit outside of Maoridom because Ta Moko artists understand that what they fashion through their hands, designs and tools, hold a direct lineage to ancestors whom we seek protection from, by these skin markings.
Take the time to ask your artist about the importance of Ta Moko and whakapapa, and how they see your role in their practice.
HOW DO I KNOW IF IT'S REAL TĀ MOKO?
While Maori are entitled to Ta Moko through whakapapa/blood, when you talk to Maori you get to appreciate the esteem in which this artform is held - how we might measure ourselves as deserving or not. It is important to do your research as this will lead you to the right Ta Moko artist and indicate your preparedness. You can expect from your artist their whakapapa (bloodline), explanation of the designs and evidence of their technical ability as well as evidence of original styled work.
As a practice Ta Moko is usually free-hand drawn by the Kaita (artist) in association with the recipient using cultural design language to tell a story. Ta Moko is not replicated even when shared between families as each piece directly reflects the body form and story perspective of the individual recipient.
I'M NOT MĀORI, CAN I GET A TĀ MOKO?
You will probably want to book a free consult with your artist to talk about the story that your moko will express and from this you can decide if you are comfortable receiving Ta Moko. Since your artist will most likely freehand your design based on your personalised story, small or big, together through discussion your individual Ta Moko will evolve and be made permanent.
There are some moko designs and placements that are reserved for Maori and these tend to be on the face or involve significant areas of the torso. There are however, many options for non-Maori to be marked in equally meaningful ways, to represent their own family, experiences, personal attributes, and/or milestones.
TĀ MOKO EXPONENTS
Kaiako Ta Moko
Ngai Te Rangi
“Moko to me is a process of connecting each of us through its practice, to the ancient wisdom of our ancestors, so that their mana and mauri may become centred within our personal spiritual self”
"Moko to me is more than a tattoo, its a language of its own - the importance of it is not just in its appearance of being Maori, but its in the symbolism of the designs that connect the tupuna to the wearer, and the artist to the kaiwhiwhi."
From the Cook Islands and based out of Pacific Ink's Kareha Art Studio in Tumutevarovaro (or more commonly known as Rarotonga), Stormy is an internationally travelling artist in the revitalization of Pacific Ta Tatau, educating those around her about ta tatau, ta moko and history of the Cook Islands.
Apprentice Ta Moko
Tauranga based artist, Joseph Houia, has been honing his skills in Ta Moko under the guidance of established Ta Moko artist Julie Paama-Pengelly for over a year but his love and talent for art has been lifelong.
KIA ORA, WE VALUE YOUR SUPPORT!
Not so long ago Maori nearly lost these traditions, the 1907 Tohunga Suppression Act outlawing practices that encompassed Maori spiritual beliefs. While we can be precious about Ta Moko, particularly in who is learned and endorsed to apply Ta Moko, we are also generous with our efforts to educate people.
If you come to see us for Ta Moko, we appreciate that you join our community because every person for team Maori, strengthens our people through an appreciation and awareness of our authentic being.
Don't settle for imitations, book your custom Ta Moko today