Traditionally, the Maori tattoo is first commenced at puberty as a rite of passage. Throughout the years, additional tattoos are added to signify important life events.

As a rite of passage, the Maori used Ta Moko for both male and female initiation. For males it was a sign of readiness for adult duties, marriage, reproduction and fighting.

It also showed his attractiveness, and in a song sung during the ceremony there is talk of how females will want to do things to serve him after receiving his Moko. For females, it was mostly a sign of strength, fertility and beauty. However, within the tribe, the female Moko also designated speaking rights.

The ceremony was overseen by a ritual Elder, the Tohunga Ta Moko. This was always a male and he most always worked with an assistant/apprentice. The whole ceremony and preparation was ’tapu’, or sacred. Before a person could get a Moko, he had to be approved by parents, tribe, and elders.

Photo Credit: Blaine Harrington

This deliberation would last for months. It was necessary to determine whether the initiate understood the Moko’s significance, how it would change their status in the tribe, how it would change their views of the world and of the tribe’s views of them, the permanence and the spiritual value.

Every time there was a new design desired, it had to be approved by all, since it spoke very specifically about the individual and his relation to the tribe. To prepare for the ceremony there is fasting and time spent with the family singing prayers, called ’karakias’. The Moko is done on ceremonial land or in the person’s house. All of the family would be there to support and keep a spiritual air in the environment through the karakias.

Responses to " The traditional process of Maori tattooing Ta Moko (Videos)"

  1. Unknown says:

    Me encantan los Maori,,,y todo este rezo hermoso para la elaboracion de un tatto

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