10 Maori Tattoo Designs with Meaning and History

The Ta moko practice otherwise known as Maori tatoo is an indigenous New Zealand tradition among the Maori where it is treated as a sacred body art. Historically the art was imported from Polynesia and hence the striking similarities but in ancient Maori a legend was born about the origins of their beloved body art.

Origin of the Ta Moko – Underworld Version

Legend has it that a young warrior by the name Mataora fell in love with a princess from the underworld called Niwareka who then came to the ground level and married Him. Their marriage was somewhat shaky because the young warrior mistreated the foreign princess so she ran away back to her home of Uetonga (underworld).

The young warrior was distraught and followed her to plead with her and her entire family. it was during his stay in Uetonga that he was taught the art of moko before returning to our world. it was said that Niwareka’s father, the king himself taught Mataora the art and that is how the Maori acquired their sacred distinctive tattoos.

Can a Non-Maori Get Ta Moko?

Traditonally, the Maori used knives, chisels and sharp stones and organic made ink only to come up with their intricate designs which must have been excruciatingly painful. Luckily you can enjoy similar imagery with modern inks and equipment.

While the original Ta moko is only done by a Maori on a Maori for sacred purposes, the Maori are very welcoming and invite visitors to try out the similar Kirituhi. Here are some of the most inspiring Maori tattoos for your consideration.

1. Light Shoulder Maori

This tribal tattoo is identifiable and especially so because it is a Maori traditional print with bold black colors and the perfected patterns. As typical of these tattoos, it features intricate black work and a certain level of crispiness that other tattoos cannot match. For those looking to get tribal tattoo that says strong and also channels some of that inner light to the world, this is the shoulder tattoo to consider.

Maori Tattoo Designs

2. Matching Lower Sleeve Men

Check out these insane matching lower sleeve Maori Tattoo designs with neo-classical elements nicely drawn. This consist of the same traditional bannering and ink that has been perfected over hundreds of generations. The placement of each element is such that it makes it easy to place and draw other parts of the design as well. While the bold black shaded parts are important, the bare skin is also a good contrast. This ink is perfect for anyone willing to showcase their arm strength and also to celebrate their Maori Heritage.

Maori Tattoo Designs

3. Maori Pattern Shoulder

This next piece is made up of simple triangular and rectangular shapes interlocked to form chains. A pattern of > signs also forms a part of the design. The mixture of boldly inked and lightly touched areas give a mixed feeling but the design is still settling. The crown of this piece might be the male symbol at the top of the shoulder which is engraved in a shield shape. This piece could be about defending your tribe, your loved ones and the brotherhood. Whatever your reasons for wanting to get this tattoo, it is one sick and arresting piece to wield at all times.

Maori Tattoo Designs

4. Maori Queen With Cross

This arresting tattoo depicts a woman’s face in cone shaped garment and an English crown with cross on her head. A pair of hands are clasped in front of her holding a chain of beads from which hangs a pointy cross. Getting this inked on the forearm where you can flaunt your tattoo any time or hide it if you like is probably the best placement. This Maori tattoo has a deep religious allure to it and is one eye catching tattoo to showcase.

Maori Tattoo Designs

5. Geometric Arm Band

This simple and attractive tattoo depicts a series of geometric shapes forming a band around the arm. The placement just below the elbow showcases the strength and firmness of the masculine hand around that area. The traditional Maori feel is brought about by the specific patterns and use of light shading with jet black ink. This is a classic Maori tribal piece that looks like it was done with the use of a tattooing gun. It is neat and clean in addition to being unmistakably Maori.

Maori Tattoo Designs

6. Amazing Kirituhi

Check out this exciting new style of Maori Tattooing with a lighter feel and thinner black lines. The unique use of thin black lines rather than shading make this piece distinctly beautiful. The black color is best accentuated by the single needle crisp lines that create the special design. The swirls are consistent with wave patterns and fishing hooks which makes this an ocean life inspired traditional tattoo for sailors and fishermen. The curved shapes seems to follow the contour of the shoulder like that and the whole piece looks harmonious.

Maori Tattoo Designs

7. Awesome Arm Maori Tattoo

Wow. This traditional tattoo is a way to tell the world who you really are. It features a beautiful wave pattern with swirls as is typical of the most adorable Maori pieces. The entire lower arm is covered in different shapes and shades creating beautiful patters with each piece floating like an island. You can wear this beautiful tattoo for the love of tribe or simply because it is a gorgeous piece that will get you a lot of attention when exposed.

Maori Tattoo Designs

8. Arm Band Maori

Arm band Maori tattoos are some of the most popular searches of all time because they are quite charming and on demand. Unlike the dark minimalistic band tattoos that flood the market, this tribal piece gobbles up quite some canvas and details too. It looks very masculine despite the intricate details in the shading and patterns. This band consists of geometric shapes that are decorative and reminiscent of tribal origins. You will find this Ink inspirations on arms of influential Maori Men around the world.

Maori Tattoo Designs

9. Circular Shoulder

Wow, this is one expertly executed Maori piece that will take more time than it would appear at first glance. It does look simple but the devil is always in the details which means this particular piece will take twice the time a regular tattoo its size will require. It sits perfectly balanced on the shoulder like that and the contouring hug the man shoulder as if they were meant for each other. This design is much more than just a series of geometric shapes as eh spacing between the crisp black lines has to be perfectly equal and repeatable countless times.

Maori Tattoo Designs

10. Large Maori Sleeve And Chest

Last but not least we have this beautiful man tattoo featuring magical Maori geometric shapes covering the entire sleeve and chest. Despite this being a large tattoo, every inch of it spells beauty and geometry as well as pride in Maori origins. This tattoo is screaming quality and will take a master artist to deliver. You will require time, money and patience but it is hard not to see the value that your money and endurance can get you with this one. Since it impacts such a large area, you have to be sure though.

Maori Tattoo Designs

Maori Tattoo Design Ideas

February 24, 2020