Modern Maori and Marquesan shoulder piece

Posted: April 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

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!

  1. Rafa Bajares says:

    Roland, are your 2 books completely different? Or by having the latest would be enough for someone looking into get a piece with you but first wants to do a research.???


    • Aloha, yes they are only in the sense that one (FTMPT) is more of an overview of the Polynesian tattoo as a whole and the other, (Ana’ole tattoo) is a modern take on Hawaiian specific tattoo and motifs. Hope this helps!