Friday, August 28, 2009

Taa Moko

I have been wanting to get a tattoo for a year now, but not just any tattoo. I didn't want to walk into a tattoo parlor and just pick any old design from a booklet. And because I've been learning a lot about New Zealand and its culture, I wanted something that was significant to my experience here; a symbol of my year here and the things I've learned in my life leading up to this point.

I did a lot of research, looking for someone who would give me a taa moko, a Maori tattoo. I wanted it done the traditional way, with a chisel, something organic and spiritual.

I found Rangi Kipa, a well-known and well-respected carver and tattoo artist. He, along with a few of his friends, brought about the resurgence of traditional chiseled taa moko 17 years ago.

Below are some of Rangi Kipa's carvings.

Whale tooth carvings

whale bone carving (unfinished)

After chatting for a while, Rangi being very patient and answering all my questions (and you know how much I can talk!) we started.

The chisels he made for the taa moko (they are made of whale tooth)

Close-up of uhi (chisels)

Rangi just started drawing on my shoulder, knowing what I wanted it to represent and then took a picture of it and waited for my okay.

Drawing of taa moko

Below: intro to the process

Below: The uhi at work

The end result!

I love it!

Me and Rangi Kipa post taa moko

To see more of what Rangi does, check out his website:

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