Celebrating the re-emergence of tāmoko

By Tumamao Harawira

A mokopapa wānanga was held over the weekend at Pehiāweri marae in Whangārei, where members from the kapa haka group Hātea, as well as Ngāti Hau associated with the marae, met over the weekend to celebrate the re-emergence of tāmoko within the community.

“The heart is happy, my children are happy, my mokopuna are happy, as well as the wider whānau," Hātea kapa haka leader Pauline Hopa says,

Grace Turuwhenua (Ngāti Hau) says, “Because this is my whānau, I was able and feel very privileged to be able to have my moko kauae on my marae with my whānau and my tūpuna looking on.”


More than 14 wāhine receive their moko kauae in Whāngarei.

More than 14 women came to Pēhiaweri to receive their moko kauae, some from Hātea Kapa Haka, but also those who whakapapa to the marae and the people of Ngāti Hau.

One of the women was lawyer Alana Thomas who, having received her moko kauae on the weekend, says she hardly felt the pain of the needle.

“I'll be truthful. Love was the only thing that I felt in the whare. I didn't feel the pain because of the beautiful singing.”

Raniera Harrison says the occasion is huge for Ngāti Hau “because we see it is our women who are upholding our traditions”.

Tāmoko artist Anikaaro Harawira, who has whakapapa to Ngāti Hau, says, while it's an amazing kaupapa to support, the absence of men receiving mataora is a cause of concern.

“From the beginning right up until this day, it has been women who have driven this kaupapa of tāmoko. There are very few men wearing mataora. So the hope is that those who wear mataora come to mokopapa, so that other men can see them.”