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Mau Moko: The World of Māori Tattoo—Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi R. Rua, Rolinda Karapu and Becky Nunes (2007)

In the traditional Māori world, moko was part of everyday life. This book is the closest there has ever been to a ‘complete’ book on moko.

Publication details

Te Awekotuku, N, L.W. Nikora, M. R. Rua, R. Karapu and B. Nunes. Mau Moko. The World of Māori Tattoo. Auckland: Penguin, 2007.

About the book

In the traditional Māori world, the moko, or facial and body tattoo, was part of everyday life. Everyone had some patterning on their skin. Men wore elaborate designs on their entire faces; women were usually less complex but elegant, and both sexes had extensive body work. After almost disappearing in the 20th century, Māori skin art is now experiencing a powerful revival, with many young urban Māori displaying the moko as a gesture of ethnic pride and identity.

Mau Moko: the world of Māori tattoo (2007) is the result of many years of research by a team at the University of Waikato, including Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Dr Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua and Rolinda Karapu. The book’s scholarship is enhanced by historical images, traditional Māori representations, and the superb portrait photography of Becky Nunes. Mau Moko examines both the traditional and present day use of moko, and explores the cultural and spiritual issues surrounding this body art. Early historical records and manuscript materials were used to review the history and technology of moko, and present day moko wearers and artists were interviewed, and invited to relate dozens of powerful and heart-warming stories. 

Further information 


This publication is part of the series Te Takarangi: Celebrating Māori publications - a sample list of 150 non-fiction books produced by a partnership between Royal Society Te Apārangi and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.