Both artists have been practicing ta moko for 11 years. Both are also graduates of NZMACI’s wood carving school.

Learn About/Receive a Maori Tattoo at Te Puia

By —— Bio and Archives--June 25, 2018

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Maori Tattoo at Te Puia, Arekatera Maihi
Visitors to Te Puia – New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) – in Rotorua, are now able to take away a permanent reminder of their visit at the new ta moko studio. (Ta moko is traditional Maori tattooing, often on the face, and its purpose and applications are sacred.)

The studio, which opened on June 14, gives visitors an insight into the traditional and contemporary art form and sits proudly alongside the Wananga Precinct’s existing disciplines – wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving and a bronze foundry.


Accomplished ta moko artists, Arekatera Maihi and Jacob Tautari, lead the studio. Maihi says there has been the desire to create a ta moko experience for some time, but it needed to be done with the right level of integrity and in a purpose designed space - something the new studio achieves. “New Zealand has been experiencing a resurgence in ta moko for some time now, with increased demand from Maori and non-Maori. There has also been additional international demand for the art form.”

Manuhiri (visitors), whether receiving a ta moko or not, will gain insight into the art form through a viewing window, which can be closed for privacy if needed.

Ta moko artist, Jacob Tautari says what makes ta moko special is that it’s not simply an image or design out of a book, but a unique piece reflective of an individual’s story. “The design of each moko is selected through a korero (conversation) with the artist, with each symbol representing an aspect of that person’s story.

“You’re not going to know what you are going to get until it is finished. Even the artist doesn’t know. Ta moko requires trust and reciprocity. The client needs to entrust the artist with their story. It is upon the artist to honour and interpret that story appropriately.”

NZMACI is mandated to protect, promote and perpetuate Maori arts, crafts and culture, and the ta moko studio adds another dimension to the richness on offer at Te Puia.

Both artists have been practicing ta moko for 11 years. Both are also graduates of NZMACI’s wood carving school.

Maori Tattoo at Te Puia, Jacob Tautari


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