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Maori tattoo, aka Moko, is a form of body art practiced by indigenous Maori people in New Zealand (Maori name: Aotearoa).
Maori tattoos feature intricate spiral or round patterns with many mysterious Maori symbols. Koru – loop, a spiral shape originated from the shape of an unfurling fern leaf grown in New Zealand.
Hei matau – fish hook shape, representing strength, good luck and prosperity, fertility and safe journey over water. Hei tiki – a neck ornament as a talisman to the Maori people, usually made of greenstone and carved in an abstract form of a human. Today Ta moko is much more than a fashion statement, and representation of one’s identity as a Maori.

This is my Yggdrasil tattoo, turned out looking exactly as I wanted it to, stands for some of my Scandinavian background.
Like other tattoos of Polynesian islands, Maori tattoo designs are one of source patterns in tribal tattoo designs. Moko is different from modern tattooing puncturing the skin with needles, in that it is carved into the skin using uhi (chisels), leaving the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.
Like other Polynesian tattoos, moko used to be representation of one’s social rank or status. According to Maori legend, Tiki was the first mortal person who created the first woman after his image.
It is an important rite of passage for the milestone to step into adulthood from childhood.

Moko can be seen as a cultural identity and is visual language that connects to old culture. Now let’s take look at the collection of 35 awesome MoKo and Maori inspired tattoo designs.

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