May 31, 2018
Soul searchers take liberties with moko
A Ngati Porou wahine wants to see a hui on the appropriation of moko and other Maori cultural signifiers by Pakeha.
The issues blew up after tattooist Inia Taylor asked life coach Sally Anderson to stop using the moko kauae he created for her in advertising for her business.
Indigenous rights and environmental advocate Tina Ngata says moko is a taonga passed down from the ancestors and Maori have a duty to protect it, including from non-Maori who seek a spiritual connection to the culture.
"From an indigenous perspective, not just for Maori but for many other indigenous peoples as well, we often struggle with the liberties taken by people who are on a spiritual pathway who feel they want to connect to something deeper than what te ao Pakeha can offer them, but they will often take liberties in that sense, so there has been a growing level of concern around this," Ms Ngata says.
A hui about 20 years ago tried to set some guidelines around the types of Maori designs including moko that could be given to non-Maori, and that needs to be revisited.
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