Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom hosts live tā moko demonstration

Published on 23 January 2019

Nga Hau Ngakau Exhibition Web Event - 21 December 2018 – 3 February 2019.

A live demonstration of the traditional Māori art of tā moko (tattoo) is to feature at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom as part of the Ngā Hau Ngākau exhibition currently on display.

Heemi Te Peeti, tohunga whakairo and tā moko (master carver and tattooist) of Ngāti Raukawa Te Au ki te Tonga, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Āti Haunui –a-Pāpārangi, and Ngāi Tūhoe affiliation, will carry out a full facial male tattoo using traditional methods and tools from 10am to 2pm, Friday 25 January to Sunday 27 January.

Horowhenua District Council Principal Advisor – Culture and Exhibitions, Awhina Tamarapa, said Mr Te Peeti is one of few tā moko practitioners to have mastered the use of traditional uhi, or tools, with most practitioners using a modern tattoo gun.

“This is a rare opportunity to see tā moko performed the traditional way. Mr Te Peeti will carry out the tā moko over three days, as the traditional approach can be painful and time-consuming, and requires physical and psychological preparation,” she said.

“During the demonstration, Mr Te Peeti will answer questions about the living Māori art of tā moko.”

Mr Te Peeti said he wanted the demonstration to inform the public and provide a living presence and spiritual dimension to Ngā Hau Ngākau.

“Tā moko has a spiritual aspect, and I saw a connection between the artwork at Ngā Hau Ngākau, which depicts Māori bird ancestors, and te uhi o Mataora, the tools of male facial tā moko. Traditionally, birdbone chisels were used to create tā moko, and I will be using a chisel made of albatross bone,” he said.

The Ngā Hau Ngākau exhibition and tā moko demonstration are free and members of the public are welcome to attend.

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