Story: Tā moko – Māori tattooing

Ipu ngārahu

Ipu ngārahu

This carved wooden ipu ngārahu from around 1800 was used by a tohungamoko (tattooing expert) to hold pigment made from the āwheto (vegetable caterpillar). The pigment was applied to fresh chisel cuts so that it permanently coloured the recipient's skin.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: WE001761

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins, 'Tā moko – Māori tattooing - Tā moko technology', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 June 2024)

Story by Rawinia Higgins, published 5 Sep 2013