Maori Tattoo or Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Maori tattoo is distinct from tradtional tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.
It was brought by Māori from their Eastern Polynesian homeland, and the implements and methods employed were similar to those used in other parts of Polynesia (see Buck 1974:296, cited in References below). In pre-European Māori culture, many if not most high-ranking persons received moko, and those who went without them were seen as persons of lower social status. Receiving moko constituted an important milestone between childhood and adulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals. Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice in traditional times was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex. Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks (called raperape) and thighs (called puhoro). Women usually wore moko on their lips (kauae) and chins. Other parts of the body known to have moko on it include the foreheads, buttocks, thighs, neck and backs of women, and the backs, stomachs and calves of men.
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