Aloha! Here are some tattoos that I have done over the past few weeks and am finally getting around to posting. I won’t get into too much detail with each one but will give an overview instead, since this is mainly for the tattoo collector to understand the symbols being used.

Here is the breakdown:

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This tattoo was his first and the intention behind it was to mark his life at this point, to pay tribute to his family and to give him strength as he goes forth in life and joins the military. (His skin was barely recovered from a sunburn). He will eventually get a sleeve with this shoulder cap acting as the basis.

a) matavau = harpoon: hunter of fish, love of fishing.

b) hulu pu’eo = owl feathers (x2): this is for his family aumakua, the owl.

c) nalu = wave: love of the sea.

d) niho = tooth: protection, protection of the tattoo.

e) ka’ake = upraised arm: strength, warrior.

f) niho, see d.

g) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body.

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This tattoo of a honu, or turtle was meant to be an overall protective piece, as is the nature of the honu. It is populated with motifs specific to his time and place in life, at the moment. It is symmetrical and so the meaning on one side is reflected on the other. it was finished off with traditional tap tatau.

a) pepehipu = pounded, armor: this is an analog to tapa cloth that was used as armor in battle. Here it protects the turtle from attack.

b) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

c) niho = tooth: protection, protection of the tattoo.

d) kofati = fold/crease: this symbol is a mark of authority.

e) mata = eye: to look out for danger, to protect.

f) ama kopeka/ ahi = flame/fire: fire or light to illuminate his path as he moves forward. This motif augments ‘g’, as well.

g) manu = bird: freedom, flight, direction, home.

h) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers, is also the face of the honu in this case.

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This chest plate is a continuation of the Polynesian theme that he has going on on the right side of his body. I did not do any of the other work, nor did I do the Borneo rose that this tattoo surrounds.
The upper portion was done several weeks before and had not finished healing completely when I went back over some of the areas. This is why some of it appears puffy.

a) kofati = crease/fold: symbolizing nobility and connectedness with the earth.

b) (twin) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

c) unaunahi = fish scales: symbolizes his love and respect of the sea.

d) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers. In this instance, done in profile with the row of niho acting as the mouth; the upper portion near the rose is the eye.

e) ama kopeka/ ahi = flame/fire: fire or light to illuminate his path as he moves forward.

f) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body.

g) hoka = rafter: this rafter motif symbolizes bravery and courage and is populated with etua in Fibonacchi sequence.

h) creator etua = gosling: this represents the wearer as a father.

i) peka ou mei = protective spirit: protection from evil.

j) ka’ake = upraised arm: strength, warrior.

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This shoulder cap was his first tattoo and is a unique tiki that overall, displays the image of a star gazing fisherman. This person is an amateur astronomer and came here with the intent to visit Mauna Kea to see the stars. He wanted something to commemorate this, as well as show his love of the sea and fishing in particular. Because the ancient Polynesians utilized the stars to navigate, this all made perfect sense! This is another mirrored image with the symbols on both sides having the same meaning and intent.

a) nutu kaha = mouth: power and protection given by ancestors.

b) mekau = fish hook: these two hooks, back to back, make up the jawline of the tiki and represent his love of fishing.

c) hinenao/pahoe = cherished daughter/ wife: love for the female members of his family.

d) hikuhiku tau = bonito (tuna) tails: warrior, speed, to run quickly.

e) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body. It is also the ears of the tiki.

f) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers, and is also the upward looking eyes of the star gazer.

g) ani ata = the sky, the heavens: the heavens, the place where angels dwell, promise, success.

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This lower shoulder cap is meant to create symmetry from the piece above it (shark aumakua, not done by me) so that we can begin to create a sleeve. The entire piece is family-centric.

a) pepehipu = pounded tapa cloth: this area is meant as armor and protects the entire tattoo. It is also inset with niho for added strength.

b) lauhala = woven mat analog; family unity; binds the elements in this tattoo.

c) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

black d) hiki a tama = cherished child: there are 6 simplified hiki a tama motifs that adorn the koru, each one symbolizing a grandchild.

white d) niho = tooth: This motif is an extension of koru/hiki a tama and represents his children.

e) niho = tooth: This ties in with the entire ‘g’ motif and represent the years that he and his wife were married (34).

f) niho = tooth: This trio of niho represent the holy trinity.

g) itiiti’i/niho = alliance/ teeth: This binding motif represents his marriage to his wife. There are 2 niho; one on each side of the binding that represent him and his wife, respectively.

Thank you all for looking and aloha!

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Aloha!

I did this piece over the course of two days last week and had a blast! The client was a gentleman from Hilo who was looking for something to speak of his time in the military, his ties to his ancestors and also to show familial ties. It was also important that the tattoo incorporate protection as well as warrior motifs.

He came to me already having researched his family name and discovered that he had an ancestor that was a kumu lua (teacher in the art of Hawaiian hand to hand combat) who had taught skills to ali’i on Kauai during the time of Kamehameha I. He was also a pilot in the Vietnam war and also flew search and rescue with the fire department here in West Hawaii and also created the protocols for the now defunct marijuana eradication program, Green Harvest.

He wanted to tell his story of a warrior, of being descended from warriors and also to pay homage to his family. This piece was an awesome undertaking as I tried to combine all of these elements to create a cohesive piece. I had a blast working with the client and enjoyed immensely they time we spent over the two days that it took to complete.
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Here is the breakdown of the symbols used:

a) maka [eye], this paka contains an eye; one looking forward, the other looking backward to protect from harm in either direction.

b) koru [unfurling fern head], symbolizing growth, life, breath, this gives intention to the piece behind it ‘c’.

c) na niho [teeth], there are 3 large niho, followed by 3 sets of 3 niho, the larger represent his 3 daughters and each set of 3 represent their respective children.

d) unahi [fish scales] love of the sea and for swiftness.

e) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

f) pepehipu [hammered tapa cloth] this is an armor analog for protection, it is inset with a row of niho at the end that is meant to protect the tattoo from harm.

g) ama kopeka/ahi [fire] this keeps bad spirits away and also acts to illuminate the path of the symbol behind it ‘i’.

h) pili niho [joined teeth] two joined teeth representing the union of him and his wife.

i) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

j)  lei niho [garland of teeth] there are 2 rows, top and bottom, of teeth, each representing a year of marriage, 50 total, plus one to symbolize many more to come.

k) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

l) hoka [rays of the sun, rafter motif] this sort of symbol was one of many found carved or painted upon the rafter of a home or dwelling, it represents courage.

m) malu [protection] overlapping diamond shapes are meant to protect as armor.

n) lei-o-mano [string of shark teeth] this club-like weapon was used in hand to hand combat and in this instance is used to indicate his ancestral ties with a kumu lua that taught fighting techniques to ali’i on Kauai during the era of Kamehameha I.

o) ikeike [cyclophyllum barbatum] this hearty flowering shrub of the coffee family was known for its resistance, fortitude and toughness, its wood was also used to make weapons and tools.

p) a’aka hala/lauhala [Pandanus weave] this symbolizes the woven fronds of the hala tree and symbolizes family unity and armor.

q) la’au [club] this symbol represents a club used for combat and is a reference to part of his family name and ancestral past as kumu lua.

r) maka [eye], this paka contains an eye; one looking forward, the other looking backward to protect from harm in either direction.

symbols s,t,u,v,w are considered as one image, and that is the Spirit of War (SoW), which is a direct analog to his ancestor that was a kumu lua. It forms a head in profile, of the SoW.

s) pahiko a tuivi [fish net] this symbol makes up the mouth of the SoW and is intended to catch sin or protect from sin.

t) niho mano [shark teeth] this represents the first of his ‘aumakua, the shark, and makes up the part of the head portion of SoW.

u) naheka kai [sea snake] this represents his second aumakua, the sea snake, the triangle and two dots represent¬† the pattern on the snake’s skin.

v) hulu pu’eo [owl feathers] this is his third aumakua, the owl.

w) mata hoata [all seeing eye] this makes pup the face of the Sow, it also has an ama kopeka, or flame on the top of its head.

x) ani ata [sky, heavens] this represents his ancestors as well as heaven and the horizon.

y) a’aka hala/lauhala [Pandanus weave] this symbolizes the woven fronds of the hala tree and symbolizes family unity and armor.

Mahalo for your time!

Roland

Aloha!

Just wanted to post the progress shot of a full back piece in progress. This pic was taken on the second day of work, as I broke the piece into halves. The left side was done on day one; the right completed the next day. This piece will also incorporate taulima Samoan elements in the final lower stages, the upper portion maintaining Maori and Marquesan motifs. When it is completed (by July) I will post the breakdown.

Thanks for looking!10407447_10206821465556876_7802924882145582236_n

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This cover up is a combination of Maori and Marquesan motifs that roughly follows a Taulima (Samoan) structure. It does not cover his old gang tattoos completely as I felt that by leaving some of the old tattoo poking through, it could serve as a reminder of sorts, of his past, so that moving forward he could have a reminder so as not to stray from the path of righteousness.
The intent of this tattoo was more aesthetic but it does have a lot of personal meaning to him as well. Growth, protection and strength form the basis for this piece.
The breakdown is as follows:

a) Koru: unfurling fern head, Maori- Life, breath, new beginnings, growth and connection to the earth.

b) Ama kopeka: fire, Marquesan- To illuminate, to cast light upon. Used here to light his path moving forward.

c) Koniho: teeth marks, Marquesan- To protect from evil.

d) Ipu ao: bowl of the earth, Marquesan- Container of mana/power, creation, life, light.

e) Unaunahi: fish scales, Maori- Abundance. bounty of the sea. Here used to represent Hawaii and aloha.

f) Mata: eye, Marquesan- To watch over, protect.

g) Niho: teeth, Marquesan- Used to protect the tattoo and the wearer from harm.

h) Pepehipu: pounded tapa cloth, Marquesan- Worn as armor, covering tattoo underneath.

i) Hope vehine: twin goddesses, Marquesan- Very simplified version of motif meant to give life, protect and symbolize creation.

j) Enana kaake: troop of warriors going to battle, Marquesan- Sacred connection, common bond, fighting for a common cause (simplified version).

k) Hoka: rays of the sun, Marquesan- Courage.

Thank you for looking, and aloha!

Aloha!

I have begun a video series on YouTube, speaking about Polynesian tattoo. This is the first video of the series. I think in total there will be 8 or so videos and I will try to produce one a month. I am asking those that wish to comment, to do so here on my blog to keep all the information in one place. Because I am a cheap bastard I cannot upload video to my blog, I can only provide a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at0-G5yV5nE

Thank you for your time and aloha,

Roland

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Did this Ana’ole Polynesian style honu on the calf of a gentleman from Canada the other day. He wanted a piece that spoke of his marriage, his two sons, his love of the outdoors and nature, family, protection, new beginnings and love for the sea. The entire piece represents his love for the sea, which is why he chose the turtle in the first place. Super cool dude! Had a blast chatting it up with him and his wife. Hope to see them again soon.

Breakdown is as follows:

a) mata/maka= eyes. These two symbols represent his sons, individually. I placed them on either side of the turtle so that they are positions of observance, to watch out for him.

b) lei e ata te hae= wedding garland. This symbols represents he and his wife’s union, and is essentially a garland of individuals holding hands, connected together as the two families unite.

c) ani ata= sky/heaven/ancestors. This symbol reinforces the bottom symbol (b) and represents his ancestors looking down on him from the heavens essentially protecting and blessing his marriage.

d) kofati= crease/fold/plaiting. This diamond pattern represents a weave of fronds, such as pandanus or palm, and is an analog to nobility and the righteousness of the earth.

e) mata hoata= all seeing eyes. This protective symbol is used to watch out for impending danger and is a more elaborate version of the mata (a).

f) niho=teeth. This symbol of a closed mouth is meant to catch sin and protect as well as offer courage and strength. It is at the front of the turtle shell to protect the symbols the follow it.

g) ka’ake= upraised arms.¬† These two symbols represent upraised arms that are meant to convey power, force, and generosity.

h) koru=unfurling fern head. This Maori symbol represents the unfurling fern shoot and is meant to convey life, breath, new beginnings and the earth.

i) lei niho= garland of teeth. This motif is the same as ‘f’ only set into a lei, or garland.

All of the symbols are done in Fibonacci sequence in both number and form.

Thanks for looking!

Aloha!

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