Wayne Abraham’s Mataora journey

By Mānia Clarke

Wayne Abraham (Ngati Porou) is one of six men who received his male facial tattoo (Mataora) at a Mokopapa Wānanga which took place at Kauaetangohia Marae in Whangaparaoa recently. For Abraham, it's been a personal journey of 10 years to come to receive his taonga following the passing of his dad.

“Indeed, this is my personal journey.  My journey began 10 years ago, when my dad passed away.  When we were at the marae, we were unaware of what was being said by the many who stood to pay their respects and acknowledge our dad, my goodness, none of us understood.  That's where the seed was laid for me to learn the Māori language.”

In 2013, I had difficulty breathing.  I went to the doctors, he diagnosed me with a chest infection.  A week passed, I wasn't better.  Another week passed, then I got really sick, with heart problems.

Six men received Mataora (male facial tattoo), 11 women received a moko kauae (chin tattoo).  The majority came from the tribal kapa team of Te Whānau a Apanui.

Indeed, a beautiful spirit was felt throughout the meeting house.

His wife Anne Abraham says, “I really love him.  I told him last night, yes you are very handsome.”

“My hopes for my children, first is that they keep hold of our Māori language, second, they follow in my footsteps,” says Wayne.

This treasure needs to be normalised in our world.