Maori Tattoo Designs – Unveiling Their Occult Inner Meanings

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Avoiding Common Mistakes

If you are in search for your unique Maori tattoo design, it is well-advised to be aware of some factors related to the Maori culture to avoid some of the common mistakes people use to make when approaching these special and meaningful designs.

Many people choose to get a tattoo nowadays. It is well noticed that Maori tattoo designs are often the choice made by people searching for tribal tattoos. Maori tattoo designs seem to be at the forefront of tattoos when it comes to selecting a tattoo and it perfectly makes sense, once you get to examine these stunning and intriguing designs.

Many tattoo artists and tattoo customers will often imitate other cultures and tattoo designs to try to come up with their own unique design. Although it may lead to an artistic flair, it is certainly not the case when approaching traditional Maori tattoo designs.

Understanding The Maori Culture

The first step in understanding this unique culture would be understanding their terminology. All walks of life have and use their own terms which are unique to that particular culture or tribe and so it is with the people from New Zealand known as Maoris. For example, The Ta Moko is the name of the family identification of Maoris that form part of the group known as Whakapapa.

One of the primary reasons that these designs formed an important and solid role within their culture was the ability of the Maoris to trace their ancestry over generations. These tattoos also served them, while fighting on the battlefield; to know who they were fighting against, as their lives literally depended on these particular works of art etched on their bodies.

Some Maoris can still trace their families using these tattoos. There are chiefs that can look at a Maori tattoo design and read it like a wide-open book. They do this by feeling the texture, looking at the design and the precision that went into etching that tattoo and by that, will be able to trace back some of these Maori family trees.

Even today, there are some Maoris in New Zealand that have Maori tribal tattoos that date back 2,000 years! Another interesting fact that most tattoo enthusiasts are unaware of when looking at Maori tattoo designs is that each tattoo entails an actual story, and each story tells a tale of certain tribe origins, their beliefs, their spiritual world and much more. So far we have dealt with the Ta form but the other part or missing word is Moko, and the Moko part of any Maori tattoo is the actual carving out of the skin.

Traditionally, the Maori used the bones of albatrosses and other cutting tools to etch their tattoos. These tools cut deep grooves into the skin. The colouring is used to represent the family history and the story is told by the actual patterns on the skin, that way, a tribe elder would be able to tell the history by looking at the design of the Moko and of course the patterning of the skin. Traditionally, Maori tattoo designs were done on the face, however, back in the day, they were also done on people’s bodies. An important thing to note is that the people who had these designs done on their faces were important figures within their tribe. That is how they were distinguished from the rest within the tribe.

One Culture, Many Fans & One Common, Very Big, Mistake To Avoid

It is now common for westerners to have these designs; this can be regarded as a way of promoting the Maori culture; when in fact, the Maoris regard it is a form of stealing Maori tradition and culture. One should never just take symbols, images or words from the Mauritanian or Maori culture without knowing what they represent. To the Maoris, this is seen as an insult. Can you imagine walking around with some Maoris family history on your back or arm? The only way you might find yourself in such a situation is if you go out and start copying any Maori tattoo design that you come across.

Would you like to know what Maoris think of white people and other cultures that steal their Maori tattoo designs? Among Maoris, white people are called “Pakeha” and are known for never asking but just taking (in terms of culture and land) they also see most westerns as close-minded, never seeing anything but themselves, let alone other cultures. Not surprisingly enough, the Native Americans as well claimed the same about the white man in America.

The Maoris claim that Maori tattoo designs that are not done properly weaken their spirituality and culture. They also regard the westerners as thieves for not having their own originality when getting Maori tattoo designs. So, how will this affect your decision when getting this ancient form of Polynesian art?

For starters, the simplest thing you can do is not to go out and copy the first Maori tattoo design that you see on a Maori in New Zealand. You would be amazed at how many people have done that! The quickest way to get a traditional and unique Maori tattoo design would be to contact someone in New Zealand who is in charge of a tribe or a tribal tattoo artist, email them the design you fancy and ask if that design is not someone else’s design already. Though this may seem absurd, as previously mentioned, we have to show some sensitivity to a culture that has shrunk over the last 200 years. Taking advantage of the power of the internet, this could be done in a matter of days.

It is only when Maori tattoo designs are copied from someone else within a Maori tribe that makes them feel that their spirituality is being stolen.

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