55+ Best Maori Tattoo Designs & Meanings – Strong Tribal Pattern (2017)
Maori tattoos are said to have originated in New Zealand. They started from a love affair between a very young man called Mataora and a princess whose name was Niwareka who was from the underworld.
It is said that Mataora beat Niwareka which resulted to Niwareka going back to her father’s home.
Mataora was left alone and during this period, he griefed having hit Niwareka and decided to look for her. He went and begged for forgiveness and Niwareka accepted it.
Niwareka’s dad who was from maori tribe decided to teach Mataora the tattooing art which he learned and took it to the human world.
Mataora tattooed this form of Mario tattoo as a reminder to avoid evil actions of beating his wife.
Meaning of Maori Tattos
Maori tattoos had great significance among the maori tribe. One of the main meanings of this type of tattoo is the world beyond. A maori tattoo made up of a symbol of turtle is used to remind people of the world beyond life here on earth.
A turtle leaves in the sea a place different from where people lives thus being used to bring out this meaning. This form of tattoo is also used to symbolize the balance between harmony and elements.
This is brought out by use of the marquesas cross which is very symbolic in the maori tribe.
Moreover, this type of tattoo can also be used to symbolize source of natural wealth or brightness. This is brought out by use of the sun in the maori tattoo. The sun symbolizes these elements which makes the tattoo be used for the same meaning.
Maori tattoos can also be used to bring out the God like figure. This is very important to some people who belief by having such symbolism in their body, it will keep them off diseases or any disaster that may befall them. The maori tattoos are designed using creatures like gecko are believed to bring out the God like figure.
Another meaning that is believed to be represented by maori tattoos is power, strength or courage. Shark teeth are commonly used in maori tattoo. Some cultures believe that shark teeth symbolize power which makes the maori tattoos to also represent the same.
Maori tattoos can also be used to represent relationships or marriages. This is mainly brought out by use of a human symbol in the tattoo. This can also be extended to mean life and experiences encountered by people in day to day life.
However, it is good to note that these are not the only meanings of this kind of tattoos. Every tattoo may have a different meaning depending with the symbol that has been used as the main element in the tattoo.
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Placement of maori tattoos
These tattoos can be placed in various part of the body. However, unlike others, the position that they are placed could also contribute to the meaning of the tattoo. For instance, a tattoo placed close to the mouth of a woman could represent their right to speak.
The main placements for these tattoos are the face, shoulder, back, upper part of the arm, hips, legs and the chest.
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Types of maori tattoos
- Sun Maori Tattoo. This design is very common among people who aspire leadership and richness. The design includes a sun like shape with decoration of multiple colors. It can be worn at any part of the body. It is a design that looks very dynamic and very exceptional in terms of its look.
- Spear Head Maori Tattoo. This tattoo as the name suggest include a spear head in the tattoo. The spear head is made up of lines that are designed to form the shape. Mainly, spear head is associated with warriors and hence the tattoo is used to symbolize power and courage.
It is common among men and nowadays soldiers are adopting this kind of tattoo.
- Human Maori Tattoo. This is another form of tattoo that is very common. It is designed using the shape of a human. It is mainly placed on the face of the chest. It can be used to bring a variety of meanings discussed above such as the representation of life and its experiences.
This one of the tradition maori tattoo.
- Flower Maori Tattoo. This is type of maori tattoo is common among ladies. It is mainly placed on the hips and they like it because it is very beautiful as a result of the combination of many colors together to form a maori tattoo.
It consists of a flower surrounded by several tribal patterns. It looks so pretty and very admirable.
- Shark Teeth Maori Tattoo. This was very common among the maori tribe. This design includes shark teeth. The shark teeth were used to bring out the aspect of both power and courage. They are mainly worn on the upper part of the arm.
- Lizard Maori Tattoo. This is another example of maori tattoos. This design included a lizard or gecko. As discussed in the meaning section, this type of tattoo is used to represent the God like figure.
Thus, people could wear them as a symbol of protection and surprisingly, people are still wearing this type because it looks cool.
- Fish Hook Maori Tattoo. The fish hook was an important symbol among the maori tribe. It represented prosperity and safe travel over the water. It is good type of tattoo and looks prettier due to the presence of a fish and a fish hook in the same tattoo.
- Toki Blade Maori Tattoo. In this type of tattoo, a toki blade is incorporated to bring out the meaning of strength. In the past, toki blade was used to cut trees. This tattoo is placed mainly on the neck.
- Manaia Tattoo. Manaia is a combination of many shapes. They include the tail of a fish, body of a man and the tail of a bird. It is used to act as a messenger between the dead and the living. It was common in the past since they also believed it offered protection.
As observed, these tattoos have a lot of cultural meanings and hence before wearing one, it is important to understand the meaning for every design. The difference between tradition maori tattoos and the modern ones is the mode of making them.
Traditionally, they were created by chiseling out part of the skin unlike now whereby the tattoo is painted.