Indigenous Ink - Feature

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

A group of Māori, Polynesian, Melanesian and Filipino tattoo artists gathered in Auckland last week for the Māori and Pacific Tattoo Art and Culture Festival, ‘Indigenous Ink’.

The festival started back in 2011, at the NZ World Cup Rugby Tournament, and they're back in Auckland again this year to support the event.

Gordon Toi is head of the House of Natives, a family-run and operated business specialising in tā moko, and he sees huge benefits in working together as a family, for the family, maintaining tā moko culture, and making a living for their futures.

Gordon Toi says, “Got a full house of natives today, got my wife here, all my kids, our apprentices, cousins and whānau and company to tautoko the kaupapa, yeah so it's nice when the house is full.”

Our Māori artists have a high regard for this gathering of 'Indigenous Ink' where they have experienced similarities and differences in artwork and design by various artists, and relationships formed from working together.

Kingi Pitiroi (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) says, “It's a great event for Māori and Polynesians because it allows us to build relationships with other tā moko artists who have the same vision, which is to ensure the survival of this traditional art form.”

As the sun sets on another gathering of Indigenous Ink, it's hoped that we shall see these tattoo artists from te iwi Māori, Polynesian, Melanesian, from Tahiti, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines along with other cultures of the world, come together again to maintain this art form so it won't be lost.