Story: Tā moko – Māori tattooing

Tattooing instruments, 1773 (1st of 2)

This illustration appeared in a 1773 official account of British voyages of discovery, including James Cook's first voyage to New Zealand (1768–71). In the middle are various tattooing chisels, some attached to handles (not to scale). At right is a māhoe (mallet), for striking the chisels as they are placed on the skin. 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Rare Books and Fine Printing Collection
Reference: ILS 757178-10
Engraving by John Hawkesworth

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, 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 24 May 2024)

Story by Rawinia Higgins, published 5 Sep 2013