Contact Info
Lesley Armstrong-Jennings
10 Shoebridge Cres
R D 3 Whangarei 0173
New Zealand

Phone: 64-9-4344659
Fax: 64-9-4344544

Maori Tattoo Designs

Maori male tattoo ( moko) was essentially a badge, showing the owner's membership of a group and their standing within that group.  Thus it may show which tribe the person belonged to, their rank within that tribe, and their lineage.
Once a design had been chosen, the tattoo was chiseled into the face, followed by the application of pigment.
For men, the main tattoo areas were the face, buttocks and thighs.  For women, it was the chin and lips. 
Maori facial tattoo design divides the face into four major sections.  The face is bisected vertically through the nose, with quadrants created at a horizontal line through the eyes.  The left and right-hand sides of the face were usually given a symmetrical design.
Certain designs were commonly used in particular quadrants, for instance spirals on the nose, or lines running from the inner eye in an arc towards the hairline.  Those tattoo designs all had a meaning relating to rank, heredity, and tribe.
For full information on the designs and their meanings, choose a book on Maori Tattoo from the selection here .

It is important, if you are wanting a Maori tattoo, that you choose carefully. For instance, a design may appeal to you but be culturally insensitive, may brand you as a slave or illegitimate person, etc. These books will help to give you the correct information to choose your design.

Maori Carving for Tattoo info page

(Maori Carving showing some tattoo designs)

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