The Maroi Tattoo are tattoos that were and are used by the indigenous tribe of New Zealand called the Maori. Their form of body art is referred to as Moko, but most people call it Maori tattooing. The form of body art was brought to the Maori people from Polynesia, and that’s one reason why it is considered to be extremely sacred.
The Maori people consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body, which is why facial tattoos are so common and popular amongst tribe members. The tattoos are comprised of curves and spiral patterns. Many times the tattoo will cover the entirety of the face and is a display of social status, rank, prestige, and power.
Maroi tattooing is a right of passage for tribe members, which is ritualized and highly revered.
The Complexity of Maori Tattoos
Traditionally Maori tattoos are extremely complex but don’t involve the use of needles. Tribe members used and still use knives and chisels that are made from shark teeth, then sharpened and used to tattoo other members. The chisel is referred to as the uhi, and made from albatross bone, with some modern ones made from iron.
The inks used were made from herbs and plants. Often burnt wood would be used to make the black pigments, while lighter color pigments made using caterpillars that were infected with fungus or from kauri gum that was mixed with animal fat. The pigments were then stored in containers called oko, which would eventually become family heirlooms. Though when not in use, the oko would be buried.
Before a Maori tattoo session could start, the persons’ facial structure would be studied, and then a design would be chosen. That’s why no two Maori tattoos will ever be alike.
If you want a Maori tattoo, it is important to choose an expert. A reputable tattoo shop can also help you choose the right type of Maori tattoo design.