Polynesian Tattoo:

Polynesian Tattoo:


Polynesian Tattoo:

Polynesian Tattoo: History, Meanings and Traditional Designs

www.zealandtattoo.co.nz)One thing that is certain is that the term Polynesian or Polynesia incorporates many tribes including Marquesans, Samoans, Niueans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, Hawaiians, Tahitians and Maori. All of these tribes are genetically linked to the indigenous peoples from parts of Southeast Asia. (Source:

The permanent marks left on someone after they have been tattooed would forever remember and commemorate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions. The pain was extreme and the risk of death by infection was a huge concern for many people. However, to shy away from tattooing was to risk being labeled a coward or a pala’ai and to then be hated and insulted by the rest of the tribe or clan. The men who could not endure the pain and abandoned their tattooing were left incomplete, wearing their mark of shame throughout their life. The shoulders and upper arms above the elbow are associated with strength and bravery and they relate to people such as warriors and chiefs. The Maori word kikopuku used to designate this part of the union of the words kiko (flesh, body) and puku (swollen). Puku as a prefix or suffix is also used as an intensifier of the word it qualifies, enforcing the idea of strong arms. (Source:

Can Someone Who Is Not Polynesian Get a Polynesian Tattoo?

Polynesia tattoo designs use two kinds of symbols. Some of these designs are scared and referred to as tapu, while others are considered noa, or not scared. Tapu elements should be reserved for someone of Polynesian heritage after the do proper ceremonies. So, if you are not Polynesian, you may want to get noa elements.

Is It Offensive to Polynesian People When Non-Polynesians Get Their Tattoos?

It all depends on how you approach the culture in the tattoo design. That means, your tattoo should include elements that depict your life story. It is always disrespectful to simply copy someone else’s tattoos without considering the meaning behind them. (Source: www.savedtattoo.com)

Can I Incorporate Non-Polynesian Elements in Polynesian Tattoos?

If it relates to your story, you can. Polynesian tattoos and other images can blend with a great visual appeal. So you can decide to include some elements that are meaningful to you. People always tend to go for multiculturalism, so why not include that into tattoo design.

Demigod is opposite to atua, who often appeared to the humans in non-human form, like a lizard. Traditionally, tiki always has closed eyes, and nostrils are always shown. Mouths are always open and ears are big. These attributes indicated that tiki can smell the danger even when its eyes are closed. It has the ability to chase and feel evil.

Tiki’s hands are usually shown with three fingers. This is especially represented in the Maori tradition where every finger has its own meaning. Generally, they are used to represent fertility and protection. Tiki can also symbolize ancestors, priests, and chiefs. Usually, that image is used to stand for the ancestors who become demigods after their passing. They are like guardian angels to the tattoo wearers. (Source: www.savedtattoo.com)

Is It Ok to Add Letters for the Polynesian Tattoo Design?

Yes. But you need to keep in mind this is not a traditional approach. Polynesian people did not use an alphabet in their tattoos. Today, there is a method to incorporate letters in Polynesian tattoo designs and styles. (Source:Why There Are Different Polynesian Tattoo Designs?


Please note: HOTA is undergoing some technical upgrades from 1am-8am, Tue 16 Nov. Some ticketing functions may be affected at this time. Please contact [email protected] for any inquiries. (Source: hota.com.au)

Tatau | a Live Tatau Installation Exhibiting the Ancient Art of Polynesian Tattooing

For 12 days over two weeks, Studio 1 at HOTA central will transform into a stunning visual display highlighting this ancient Polynesian art form through the eyes of the beautiful island of Samoa. (Source: hota.com.au)


Related Articles