Toi Maori
     
 

Meaning of Moko

Moko is original custom work specially designed for the individual recipient. This is because ta moko is meant as a visual representation of a person's genealogical links, personal achievements, and connections to people and places of the heart. The result is that the process of creating a moko itself is quite an intimate experience between the practicioner and the client.

For information on moko design meanings, the Matakite website gives a detailed explanation of facial moko symbolism.

Controversy

The term "moko" is usually applied to skin markings that are done by Maori and on Maori. Tattoo markings that are not moko but inspired by Maori design are sometimes called kirituhi ("writing on skin"). This includes Maori tattoo designs that serves as a decorative purpose as well as moko done on non-Maori skin.

However, there is much debate around this issue - it has divided many within the moko community (artists, admirers and wearers). The following blog entry goes into more detail about the controversy.

     
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