The Maori are an indigenous people native in order to New Zealand. They have an unique culture and are believed to be the first settlers coming there from East Polynesia. These Polynesian people resolved the land and later became known as the Maori. Their culture includes a distinctive emphasis on sport and performance art. Along with these actions, Maori Tattoo Designs of the face and body is an additional cultural practice. This practice is called moko and actually started with carving permanent designs to the skin. However, needles began to be used in the 19th century to replace actual chisels or burned sticks.
Moko is thought to have been brought from Polynesia using the Maori when they resolved. Higher status individuals more often than not wore the moko tats and lacking such marks meant that the person was probably part of a lower social purchase grouping. Men and women received moko designs on different parts of their bodies. For men, the designated area for moko was the face and thighs. Women wore moko on their lips and chins. The moko ritual is related to stepping stones throughout life for that Maori. Adulthood and other essential stages in life in many cases are marked with moko tattooing. Moko tattooists were viewed as sacred individuals in the society from the Maori. These artists were called tapu. The tapu are held in high esteem within traditional culture.
Maori tattoo designs have experienced resurgence in today’s culture. They are growing within popularity among people of Maori descent like a celebration of culture and heritage. A strong cultural identity is associated with these tattoo designs. Receiving moko reflects a particular pride for Maori individuals, yet non-Maori people also practice the art. This idea is somewhat of a controversy, as the practice is recognized as sacred to the Maori and is a personal familial process. Moko is strongly recognized as a Maori tradition and copying tattoo patterns out of this culture may be viewed as insulting. However, others view the exercise by non-Maoris as flattering to another culture. Whether the moko is actually practiced in admiration from the beauty of the skin image designs or by Maori people themselves, there is no doubt this distinct type of body art is steeped within cultural heritage.
Facial tattoos are most strongly associated with Maori tattoo designs. There are many types of moko designs and these vary by meaning. These include but are not limited to:
* Koru – fern spin out of control shape * Haehae lines – linear elements of moko * Positive and negative components – compliment each other
Koru is one such design that looks like spiraling lines or fern fronds. A double head koru spiral set is linked to the warrior. Koru is the dominant aspect in Maori tattoo designs. Haehae lines are also a dominant feature of moko. These lines often represent battle wounds and tell stories based on different numbers of lines on the face. Positive and negative room is emphasized in moko. This represents the collaboration between the two hierarchies in Maori culture: the chiefs and the actual villagers.