Tā Moko Undergoing Unprecedented Renaissance

The traditional art of Māori tattooing, known as tā moko, was at risk of total extinction after New Zealand’s brutal colonial-era efforts to suppress indigenous culture. But 50 years later, tā moko is far from vanishing – it has undergone an unprecedented renaissance. Mokonui-a-rangi Smith told France 24 this regeneration has been hard-won, and offers a way to revive Māori culture and “decolonise”.

Smith works by hand with the traditional Māori and Polynesian hand tools known as uhi in his studio in Auckland. He is one of very few practitioners working to revive the art in New Zealand, after decades of being suppressed by British colonists.

“It has been really meaningful to work with Māori people who, through tā moko, are trying to reclaim a sense of identity and decolonise. They are trying to heal trauma that stems from being ashamed of not knowing much about their culture or not knowing the language, for example,” Smith explains.

Original article by Olivia Bizot, France 24, July 29, 2022.

Photo by Mokonui-a-rangi Smith.


Tags: France 24  Mokonui-a-rangi Smith  Ta moko  

Supreme Court Rules Voting Age of 18 is Discriminatory

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