Tame Poata was the son of Thomas Porter, a British army colonel who fought in the New Zealand wars, and Te Rangi-i-pāea, a Ngāti Porou woman of mana. Poata served in the South African War, on India's north-west frontier and with the Pioneer Battalion in the First World War, and is seen here wearing his military decorations. From about 1920 he worked as a carver and tohunga tā moko (tattooing expert). Until his death in 1942 he carried out needle tattooing throughout the East Coast, Urewera, Rotorua and Waikato districts.
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