It was in New Zealand where the art of Maori symbols in the form of tattoos began and, perhaps, it is the cradle of all the designs that we know today. The inhabitants of Polynesia, opted for symbols that have remained long after and that we still admire as such. Maori symbols are a whole form of cultural identity, which is why they may not have a very specific meaning, although within all the Maori symbols we can find quite different symbolisms, which we are going to show you below.
Most Popular Maori Symbol Tattoos and Their Meanings
In Maori tattoo art, there are several unique patterns, and you can even build a whole story using these patterns:
- Hikuaaua: placed between two parallel double lines, the design inside these lines is geometrically shaped, and symbolizes the taranaki, a region of New Zealand. This design looks very much like the tail of a mackerel, and in Maori tradition, it represents prosperity.
- Taratarekae: this is a delicate design composed of two parallel lines that cross the skin. Between these parallel lines, small triangles are added inwards, which are joined to the two lines at their base. In Maori tradition, this pattern represents the teeth of a whale.
- Ahauaha mataru: this pattern is also composed of two parallel lines that cross the skin, however, unlike the previous ones, these lines go in pairs. In addition, connecting these double parallel lines, there are vertical lines. This design represents your success and prowess in the field of sport and athletics. But it can also represent a new challenge for the wearer.
- Pakati: like the other patterns, this one is also placed between two double parallel lines. Between these lines, they include a triangular geometric design that is generally known as a dog skin cape and represents the warrior gene of the Maori people, it is also drawn to represent the battles and wars that the tattoo owner has fought, and represents their strength and courage.
- Unaunahi: also uses the same pattern of double parallel lines, however, the inner design is very similar to the outline of a leaf, but much more oval. This pattern represents the scales of the fish, meaning health and abundance of wealth.
Maori Symbol Tattoos for Men
As we have said, each one represents a story, so they are unique. They are done in black ink and because of the amount of details they need, they are made in large size, that's why men are usually the ones who opt for this type of tattoos. Mostly they are placed on the arm and continue to cover a part of the chest, on the back, covering the whole back or on the calf.
Maori Symbol Tattoos for Women
Although you might not think so, the truth is that Maori symbol tattoos are also very popular among women. The size of these tattoos is smaller and the designs may be a bit different but they also look great. They can be found on many parts of the body but as in the case of men, they are only in black ink.
Small Maori Symbol Tattoos
It is practically impossible to find Maori symbol tattoos in small sizes as this is a style that needs a lot of details and, if you want a Maori symbol tattoo that looks good and looks good, it is better to get it in a larger size.
Large Maori Symbol Tattoos
As we have said more than once, Maori tattoos are unique so each one will have a different size but will always be between medium andlarge. They are spectacular and allow for many designs. What you should keep in mind is that you will probably need more than one session to complete the tattoo, but if you are clear about this there will be no problem.
Maori Symbol Tattoos on Body Parts
We can find them on practically the whole body, since at first we may have the idea of a specific tattoo but, once finished, we want to complement it with more designs of this type and end up occupying more than one specific area.
Maori Symbol Tattoos on the Arm
The arm is where we find more tattoos with Maori symbols, of many types and sizes. There are tattoos that go from the wrist to the shoulder, others that even expand to the chest and others that only occupy a specific area such as the shoulder or forearm.
Maori Symbol Tattoos on the Leg
Mostly below the knee, going around the entire leg or, sometimes reaching up to the thigh.
Maori Symbol Tattoos on the Back
In this case, the tattoos can be very different, from those that occupy only the upper area, to those that are captured from the spine to the side, leaving half tattooed back and half untattooed or those that are just above the spine.