35 Awesome Maori Tattoo Designs

4 Maori Tattoo

Maori tattoo on arm

Maori tattoo, aka Moko, is a form of body art practiced by indigenous Maori people in New Zealand (Maori name: Aotearoa). Like other tattoos of Polynesian islands, Maori tattoo designs are one of source patterns in tribal tattoo designs.


Traditionally, men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks and thighs . Women wore moko on their lips and chins as well as forehead and throat. Like other Polynesian tattoos, moko used to be representation of one’s social rank or status. It is an important rite of passage for the milestone to step into adulthood from childhood. Moko is a visual statement that connects the wearer to their whakapapa (genealogy).

It’s a painful process to get moko although there’s revival of traditional tattooing process in recent years. Moko is different from modern tattooing puncturing the skin with needles, in that it is carved into the skin using uhi (chisels), leaving the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.

Maori Symbols and meanings in tattoos

Maori tattoos feature intricate spiral or round patterns with many mysterious Maori symbols. There are meanings behind these symbols and often unique meanings for the tattoo.

Koru – loop, a spiral shape originated from the shape of an unfurling fern leaf grown in New Zealand. Kori symbolizes new life, growth, peace and harmony.

Hei matau – fish hook shape, representing strength, good luck and prosperity, fertility and safe journey over water.

Hei tiki – a neck ornament as a talisman to the Maori people, usually made of greenstone and carved in an abstract form of a human. Tiki shape is often found in many of tattoo designs. According to Maori legend, Tiki was the first mortal person who created the first woman after his image. It stands for fertility & good luck, protection from evil spirits.

Today Ta moko is much more than a fashion statement, and representation of one’s identity as a Māori. Māori inspired designs are called kirituhi. Electric machines are used to make the process more smoothly and less painful. Placement is also extended to other parts of body, arms, shoulders, etc. Moko can be seen as a cultural identity and is visual language that connects to old culture. Now let’s take look at the collection of 35 awesome MoKo and Maori inspired tattoo designs.

11 maori tattoo

maori tattoo

18 maori tattoo

Tattoo by Peter Walrus Madsen

19 maori tattoo

Maori tattoos for women

20 maori tattoo

polynesian tattoo by pink

maori tattoos Hei tiki

Maori Hei tiki tattoos

21 maori tattoo

polynesian ribcage

22 maori tattoo

Polynesian project, chest finished

23 maori tattoo

Maori with flower

24 maori tattoo 518x1024

Maori leg

27 maori tattoo

maori ribs tattoo

1 maori tattoos

Maori Tribal

2 maori tattoo

3D Tribal

3 Maori Tattoo

polynesian tattoo by jinxiejin

5 maori tattoo

Polynesian tattoo

6 maori tattoo

Tribal and Canarian symbol tattoo

7 maori tattoo

Freehand Polynesian Tribal similar to “the Rock” Dwayne Johnson

8 maori tattoo

Freehand Polynesian Tribal

9 maori tattoo

Maori / Polynesian shark full sleeve 2

10 maori tattoo

maori tattoo

14 maori tattoo

Carved design

15 maori tattoo

Maory polynesian sleeve

16 maori tattoo

Maori tribal II

17 maori tattoo

Maori piece

28 maori tattoo

maori tattoo

29 maori tattoo 600x923

maori tattoo

30 maori tattoo

maori tattoo

31 maori tattoo

Polynesian-styled half sleeve

32 maori tattoo

Final piece

Ta Moko

Maori facial tattoo

35 Maori Tattoo

Maori Style Tattoo

26 Maori Tattoo

Draven’s Tattoo II

12 maori tattoo 507x1024

maori tattoo

13 Maori Tattoo

Tribal sleeve

25 maori tattoo

backpiece inspired by maori artwork

34 Maori Tattoo

34 Maori Throat Tattoo On Clyde


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16 Comments

  1. Grate Ideas For Maori Tattoo Design. Thanks For Sharing Maori Design’s Pictures.

  2. Tattoos no. 3 & 7 are both done by Peter Walrus Madsen of Meatshop Tattoo in Copenhagen.

  3. Who designed and inked the one labeled ‘Tribal Sleeve’ … It’s just the style I’ve been looking for.

    • hey dude the significance of a maori tattoo varies, Some may be desigend in the sense of a family meaning usally including ancestiral meaning in some tattoos, They look great and they are a great way to signify love marijuana and patterns representing the koros and unkos and pupatuakanas and tanieś and ogmudboneit chur cuzthe nz culture

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