Inside: What is Ta Moko? Does it Hurt?

What is a ta moko?

Moko is a name for Māori tattoos and the culture that surrounds them. It is the skin art form of the Māori.

Ta Moko Tattoo Definition

What is the difference between ta moko and tattoo?

‘Tattoo’ is the English version of the Tahitian word tatu. Tattoo is the tradition of marking the skin with ink and needles, whereas moko is the practice of scarring and marking the skin to reflect the whakapapa (genealogy) of the Māori wearer. Moko can be seen as a cultural affirmation.

Ta Moko Tattoo Examples

1. Ta Moko Spine Tattoo

2. Face Ta Moko Design

3. Ta Moko Shoulder Piece

4. Maori Moko Face Idea

5. Ta Moko Leg Sleeve

Ta Moko Tattoos

Do moko symbols have a meaning?

All symbols have meaning, usually, a tribal link that tells the background and stories of the wearer. Moko is a visual language that connects the wearer to their whakapapa.

Does getting a moko hurt?

Yes. Needles are forced into the skin to insert ink into the puncture, so it’s inevitable that it will hurt, although some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others.

Learn More About Tattoos

  • What is a Flat Needle? – Tattoo artists use a variety of tools and needles to create their masterpieces. A flat needle delivers higher quantities of ink and are therefore great instruments for outlining, highlighting, shading, or even coloring. Read more about needle types and how to use them.
  • Why your Tattoo Pens Matter – There are various ways to create a tattoo. Tattoo pens are a simplified tool from the traditional tattoo machine that uses a small motor to drive a needle up and down. The result is a simplified and lower cost method of tattoo creation. Read more about tattoo pens and their advantages and disadvantages.
  • What is a Tattoo Blowout? – Tattoo blowouts are not super common, but when they do occur it is generally because of the tattoo artist applying too much pressure. The ink is placed below the surface of the skin and in turn is injected into the next layer of fat. This can cause a number of issue both with the tattoo clarify, longevity, and even some health concerns. Read more about how this happens and what to do.