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Moko Māori: Skin Modification

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Linda Waimarie Nikora and Mohi Robert Rua

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

The Māori people settled Aotearoa (New Zealand) from the islands of the eastern Pacific, coming in successive waves over many centuries. They brought with them the languages, music, belief systems, and technologies of their cultures of origin. They also brought the practice of permanent skin modification. Tattoo chisels similar to those used in western Polynesia have been found in some of the earliest excavations. With the new environment came new resources: massive hardwood forests, nephrite and

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