This piece centers on the honu (turtle) and balance. The symmetry of this piece speaks of the client’s desire to have a tattoo that represents his admiration of the honu as well as elements that relate to his love for his family and the sea. Because he is an airline pilot I included elements of flight and freedom and a paka that relates to both his love for his wife and protection when he is aloft, so that he will always (find) land safely.

The manu (bird) follows the turtle towards land, as it flies (the bird flies, not the turtle!). The upper most paka represents the land surrounded by the sea. The two waves represent he and his wife and the matau (hook) that is barely visible at the front of the tattoo represents both his love of fishing as well as an anchor that ensures that he will land safely when in the air.

Here is a breakdown of the symbols:

a) Manu = bird: freedom, flight, voyage
b) Koru = unfurling fern head: breath, life, balance
c) Ipu = container, gourd: creation, container of mana (spiritual energy)
d) Etua i’ima = hands of his ancestors: hands that hold the tattoo to his body
e) Potiki = child: these represent each of his children (3)
f) Mata = eyes: protection, look out for danger, there are 2 sets (4 eyes)
g) Nalu = wave: two waves, one representing himself and his wife, respectively
h) Matau = hook: this hook represents his love of fishing as well as an anchor that brings him back to land.

Aloha and thank you for your time!

My bad!

Posted: April 1, 2017 in Uncategorized


I will be the first to admit that I have been neglecting my blog and for that I apologize. It seems that work and life have gotten the better of me lately and somethings have slipped by the wayside, mainly, this blog.

I hate excuses and avoid using them whenever possible, so please don’t think for a moment that this is some sort of excuse, it’s just fact, lol.

The main reason that I have been silent on my blog as of late is because I am working on a project that has been consuming pretty much all of my time. Between work and this project (and also planning for my upcoming trip to London and Belgium in May) I have literally had little time to relax. But this is the game I have chosen to play 🙂

I can’t divulge too many details about this project yet, as it is still in development and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but what I can tell you is that it involves entertainment programming (television and internet) that I am producing myself. I hope to generate some interest in it (admittedly, it already has some…) and am going to be moving forward with it, in terms of my own personal branding, whether or not it gets picked up by a major network or if I publish it to my YouTube channel.

I’ve already said too much!

So, please watch this space. I will keep it updated, I promise.

In the meantime, here is some of the work that I have been up to lately.

Aloha and thanks for looking!

This piece was created to symbolize this person’s marriage, family, freedom, his late mother and love of riding motorcycles. All sections, or paka, are connected with niho (teeth) the number of which correspond to the Fibonacci sequence 1,1,2,3,5.

Here is a breakdown of the tattoo:

a) hulu= feather: symbolizing freedom, flight, and direction that pertains to his occupation as a long haul truck driver

b) lei niho= garland of teeth: this forms the foundation for his family. There are 2 niho that are filled with lauhala (pandanus weave) that represent himself and his wife.

c) iti’iti’i= binding: this paka represents marriage.

d) ka makani= wind: this symbolizes his love of riding motorcycles and the freedom that brings.

e) etua manu= deified bird: this symbol represents his late mother. It is placed on his shoulder so that she can help guide him as well as look over him.

f) na mata= eyes: this symbol represents eyes that look out for any harm, as a protective device.

Thanks for looking!



I am finally off across the pond. I was invited by Skin Deep magazine to attend the 2016 Tattoo Jam at Doncaster Racecourse in Doncaster, England. I am very excited about this and have been planning the trip for several months now. I will also be giving a seminar on Polynesian tattoo on Friday, August 5 at 2:00pm at the venue, which is free to attend.

I still have some open spaces if anyone is interested in having work done. Please let me know via email, or social media, IG/twitter: rolandtattoo.

I leave tomorrow and will spend a few days in Ireland before heading out to Doncaster, so this will be somewhat of a much needed vacation, as well.

Here is a discount code for tickets to the show, for those interested.

Here is also a link to the show.




This client wanted a piece that reflected his faith and spirituality, his desire to become a pilot in the military and his love of family and of the sea, with the overall intention of balance. I chose to convey it all in symmetry (for balance) and again, utilized the nesting of a tattoo within the body of a tattoo.

The focal point is the large manu (bird) symbol that splits the piece in half but also acts as the crown of the head of the mata hoata that comprises a majority of the upper portion of the piece. On each wing I placed a row of ani ata which symbolize his ancestors protecting him as he moves forward. The circular mata shapes upper part feature four eyes; one set looking up, the other down. There are eyes on each cheek as well. This is a highly aware, protective piece.

This entire upper part is nested into a lower half that is itself another mata, albeit only the eyes are present. This is because the upper part is a tattoo on the head of the lower entity, speaking of divine connection and spirituality as it is, being born of mindfulness.

The lower portion shows family and protection, with the niho that form its upper mouth and growth and strength in its lower jaw, with the koru and ka’ake. There are also twin fish hooks on either side of the tiki that show his love of the sea and visually, act as ears.

I had a ton of fun constructing this piece and I hope that you enjoyed the read!

Breakdown below:

a) koru- unfurling fern head: growth, breath, life.
b) ka’ake- upraised arm: strength, also supports the growth of the koru.
c) niho- tooth: this line of niho represents family and is protective to keep danger at bay.
d) mata- eye: these are the eyes of the entire entity, looking out for danger.
e) mata- eye: these are the eye of the upper portion, which is a tattoo worn by the entity to protect the entire tattoo.
f) manu- bird: this speaks of this faith, his desire to be a pilot and acts a symbol of guidance as he moves forward in life.
g) ani ata- the horizon: these symbols represent his ancestors as the help to guide him in life.
h) matau- fish hook: this speaks of his love of the sea.

This modern Marquesan and Maori piece is an overall protective piece, but like the shoulder piece that I did a few tattoos back, is contained in the profile of a mata hoata. It speaks about the bond that he has with his daughter and the imagery used shows is meant to protect and preserve their relationship as they move forward. This piece also has a tattoo to protect the overall intent, which is a warriors head/helmet that sits above the brow of the eyes.

a) siamutu – binding, using niho at the opposite ends of this paka and connecting them with a line, symbolizes his connection with his daughter.

b) niho – tooth, the three niho near the ankle protects the intention of the tattoo, while the row of niho running diagonally upwards forms the mouth of the mata hoata and is meant to protect from sin and also represent family.

c) ihu – nose, this is the nose of the mata hoata and symbolizes breath and life.

d)  mata – eye, this is the eye of the piece and is meant to look out for danger and to protect.

e) tiki koa – warrior image, this image is set atop the head of the mata hoata and is a tattoo for the overall tattoo, meant to protect.

f) koru – unfurling fern head, this symbolizes growth and life as she moves forward.

g) ama kopeka – dancing flame, this is meant to illuminate the path forward and adds to the efficacy of the tattoo by protecting it from breaking down.


There’s a first time for everything! I was asked to do a Polynesian leg piece in water color style, something that I had never even considered before and this is how it turned out. The piece is in memory of her grandmother and is an homage to when she paddled out and spread her grandmothers ashes in the sea. The overall piece repeats the story twice: on a somewhat gloomy day she and her family paddled out into the bay as the sun was setting and it began to rain. When they stopped to spread her ashes the rain ceased and the sun broke through the clouds. Then a whale breached right next to them as the last of her grandmothers ashes fell into the sea. The symbols in the tattoo represent her grandmother, protection, life, family and the whale. I wanted the colors to mimic the sun setting on the darkened ocean. Done in modern Marquesan/Tahitian, Maori style. Some of the stencil is still visible on the top part. Super stoked with how it all turned out. Symbols also follow the Fibonacci sequence in terms of usage.


a) koru – unfurling fern head, this symbolizes growth and life as she moves forward.

b) kohola – whale, this symbolizes a venerated ancestor as well as the spirit of the sea.

c) etua – venerated ancestor, this symbolizes her grandmother.

d) lauhala – pandanus weave, this woven symbol represents her ties to her grandmother and overall family unity.

e) niho – tooth, this protects the intention of the tattoo itself.

f) u’uhe – piece of turtle shell, this is to protect the wearer.

g) mata – eye, this is the eye of the piece and is meant to look out for danger and to protect.