Whakatāne locals experience LIVE interactive tāmoko demonstration

updated By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Whakatāne's general public got the rare opportunity to take part in a live tāmoko demonstration. Tūhoe artist Te Haunui Tuna created the interactive workshop as part of celebrating Matariki and educating the community through the ancient Māori art form. 

Tuna says he wanted to created an upfront and personal experience of tāmoko for Whakatāne locals.

"This is about showing my interpretation of art and sharing my knowledge with youth," he said.

The innovative initiative is a collaboration first for Whakatāne's Te Kōputu o Te Whanga a Toi Library during their Matariki celebrations to showcase local Māori talent and engage with the community.

"People will be able to ask questions and stuff. On another side we've got a couple of tables set up so people can come in and draw with him and practice in the environment about tāmoko. And also he's got a little bit of stuff on the side of his artwork, his perception of our Māori atua," said Librarian Information Officer, Vinny Smith.

Hōhepa Waenga (Te Whānau a Apanui) travelled from Rotorua to receive his moko. He saw Tuna's art work of Matariki in Māori astronomer, Dr Rangi Mataamua's book called Matariki, released last month.

"Matariki and the family of Matariki are among the star constellations that are well-know to Māori. So when I saw his pictures it stirred me so much that I wanted to have these Māori gods (tattooed) on my back," said Waenga.

"One of my dreams is to share about our Māori legends to the world," said Tuna.

Tuna hopes to include his pencil sketches of Māori gods in a new book in the future.