100+ Maori Tattoo Ideas and Designs for Men and Women – Maori Tattoo Inspiration

Maori tattoo design for men and women

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Maori are descendants of Polynesian, native people of New Zealand. In their culture, the tattoo has always been an form of art comparable even to the Holiness and is highly regarded to this day. For Maori people the head is the most holy part of the human body. It is not surprising that the most popular tattoo in their culture is performed on the face. Maori tattoo is usually consisting curved shapes and spiral motifs. Those tattoos often cover the entire face, to demonstrate high social status, power and prestige.

For Maori the tattoo is a ritual of passage and therefore performing it is a form of the rite. The execution of a tattoo usually begins with the arrival of adulthood. During the life Maori tattoo is constantly updated in order to commemorate the important life events.

In the Maori culture (particularly among men) tattoos are very respectable and considered almost as Holiness.

Only people with appropriate social status can wear Maori tattoos. For many people, such as slaves or people with very low level in society performing tattoos on face is prohibited. Maori tattoo on the face is a kind of ID, it shows achievement, position, status, material situation – Something which is far beyond reach of the slave.
Specific places on the face have their special meanings. Face of the Maori people is divided into eight areas:

  • Ngakaipikiaru: consists of two triangular areas located on both sides of the line dividing face in half. This area shows the status and is reserved for people who who inherited social status from their ancestors.
  • Ngunga: consists of a triangular areas on both sides of the forehead, above the eyebrows. Tattoo at this point indicates the position of a human life.
  • Uirere: an area stretching from the lateral part of the nose to the corners of the eyes and down to the line equal to the end of the nose. This area reflects the tribal membership.
     
  • UMA: is located on both sides of the face, from the temple on the middle part of the ear. This area shows information about the origin of the father or of the mother, including whether the person wearing it comes from a first or second marriage, and the changes in social status.
     
  • Raurau: consists of two areas on both sides of the face, from the tip of the nose, the cheeks to the lines of the lip. This area is a distinctive sign of the person concerned.
     
  • Taiohou: This is the area between raurau, the cheek and the line of jaw. It shows the profession of the person wearing a tattoo.Wairua: Reserved part of the face for this sign is the area under the lover lip. It represents the social status of particular person.
    Taitoto: The area on the edge of the jaw. Shows the privileges conferred by birth.
     

Maori Tattoo Meaning

The variety of symbols, types, different meanings makes impossible to present all in one article. We will present some of the most popular symbols and their meaning:
 
Spear Blade symbols in Maori tattoo

Variations and combinations of the spike

Spear blade symbols can be found in almost each project of Polynesian tattoo. It is intended to express the courage and fight. Very often used to represent warriors. This symbol combined with with other can have different meanings. E.g. head of the spear upside down along the side is performed to express the importance of the warrior fighting with enemies. It has many varieties as the picture above presents.

Marquesan Cross Symbol

Marquesan cross

Marquesan Cross is a symbol that is quite popular and often used in many Polynesian tattoo patterns. It is often used to present a balance between the particular elements and harmony. Its origin is not known, but archaeologists say that is is associated with the shape of a turtle shell. This symbol is often confused with symbol of the lizard. Picture above shows some variations of Marquesan Cross and example.




Turtle Shells

Turtle Shells

In Polynesian tattoo patterns, shells are very popular, especially the shells of turtles. The turtle is very important sea creature in all cultures of the Polynesian Triangle. Some complex projects of turtles can have many meanings, depending on with which items shells are connected. Basically, the turtle shell symbolize longevity, fertility and peace. Picture above presents a few of the samples and the tattoo with turtle shells.
 
Sea Shells
Sea Shells
Sea shells often have a lot of variety and styling. Shells are a major source of works of art. It is worth mentioning that the pearls produced by sea animals was for the Polynesian population, very important. According to tradition are the gift God of warOro, who came down from the horizon and gave them people. Sea shells often symbolizes the protection and intimacy. Mussels can symbolize the couples and marriage. Often are compared with other Polynesian symbols.

Sun

Sun tattoo symbol maori

In Polynesian tattoo patterns, the Sun often is connected with other symbols to express special importance. Sun in Polynesian culture means: wealth, brilliance, momentum and leadership. The rising sun represents rebirth and symbolizes the transition in the afterlife.

Meanings of Maori tattoos with Sun symbol may vary. It all depends with which symbols sun is connected.
There are quite a few Polynesian sun design, everything depend on tattoo artist, his imagination and skills. Couple Maori Sun design are presented on the photo.

Shark Teeth

Shark teeth Maori tattoo

The teeth of the shark is a symbol that is very popular among fans of the Polynesian tattoo. Almost 50% of the designs has a built-in symbols with shark teeth. They are also called NiHo mano” in the Polynesian language.
Shark teeth usually provide shelter, guidance, strength, ferocity, adaptability, etc. In Polynesian legends, the sharks also represent God of the Polynesian people. There are many varieties and combinations like these, which are pictured above.
 
Lizard

lizard maori tattoo

In Polynesian cultures lizards and geckos represents gods, as well as the ancient ancestors of the Polynesian people, so they look very similar to the “enatas” human symbols. Lizards are in their beliefs a type of creature, who can talk with the gods and see the hidden world. This symbol in tattoo will bring a lot of luck to your life . You can find many symbols of lizards that are embedded in the Polynesian tattoo patterns. A few examples at the picture above.

 Maori (Polynesian) Tattoo Ideas For Men

Maori tattoo design on man's shoulder and chest
Maori tattoo design on man’s shoulder and chest
Maori tattoo design on man's shoulder
Maori tattoo design on man’s shoulder
Maori tattoo on man's body with sun as a man motive
Maori tattoo on man’s body with sun as a main motive
Maori (Polynesian) tattoo design on man's shoulder with shark teeth and spear blade
Maori (Polynesian) tattoo design on man’s shoulder with shark teeth and spear blade
Simple Polynesian tattoo with sun symbol and couple other on man's body
Simple Polynesian tattoo with sun symbol and couple other on man’s body
Polynesian sleeve on man's body
Polynesian sleeve on man’s body
Maori tattoo on man's shoulder with sun, spear blade and couple other symbols
Maori tattoo on man’s shoulder with sun, spear blade and couple other symbols
Maori tattoo on man's hand with spear blade symbols + combined with flower
Maori tattoo on man’s hand with spear blade symbols + combined with rose
Small Polynesian tattoo on man's leg
Small Polynesian tattoo on man’s leg
Polynesian tattoo on shoulder with shark teeth and more meaningful symbols
Polynesian tattoo on shoulder with shark teeth and more meaningful symbols
Maori on shoulder and check - black tattoo with shark teeth and spear blade symbols
Maori on shoulder and check – black tattoo with shark teeth and spear blade symbols
Maori sleeve on man's body
Maori sleeve on man’s body
Awesome Maori tattoo with many symbols
Awesome Maori tattoo with many symbols
Maori tattoo on shoulder
Maori tattoo on shoulder
Maori tattoo on man's back with interesting shape and spear blade symbols
Maori tattoo on man’s back with interesting shape and spear blade symbols
Maori tattoo on Shoulder and half back with a lot of interesting symbols
Maori tattoo on Shoulder and half back with a lot of interesting symbols




Maori tattoo on man's shoulder (fits perfect in my opinion)
Maori tattoo on man’s shoulder (fits perfect in my opinion)
Half chest and sleeve tattoo on man's body
Half chest and sleeve tattoo on man’s body
Maori on man's chest and shoulder with interesting symbol of sun
Maori on man’s chest and shoulder with interesting symbol of sun




Great Polynesian sleeve tattoo design
Great Polynesian sleeve tattoo design
Polynesian Maori tattoo on man's biceps
Polynesian Maori tattoo on man’s biceps
Maori tattoo with Sun and spear blade symbols
Maori tattoo with Sun and spear blade symbols
Maori tattoo with shark teeth and spear blade example
Maori tattoo with shark teeth and spear blade example
Maori on man's back
Maori on man’s back
Maori tattoo on man's shoulder
Maori tattoo on man’s shoulder
Polynesian tattoo on half sleeve and half chest
Polynesian tattoo on half sleeve and half chest
Maori tatoo on biceps with Marquesan Cross Symbol
Maori tattoo on biceps with Marquesan Cross Symbol
Maori tatto with interesting symbols
Maori tattoo with interesting symbols
Full sleeve maori tattoo on man's body
Full sleeve Maori tattoo on man’s body
Full sleve on man's body Maori with Marquesan Cross Symbol
Full sleeve on man’s body Maori with Marquesan Cross Symbol
Maori tribal tattoo inspiration on man's shoulder
Maori tribal tattoo inspiration on man’s shoulder
Maori tattoo on man's shoulder with shark teeth
Maori tattoo on man’s shoulder with shark teeth
Maori tattoo with sun, turtle shells and warrior symbols
Maori tattoo with sun, turtle shells and warrior symbols
Maori tattoo design half-suit on man's body
Maori tattoo design half-suit on man’s body
Maori polynesian tattoo with spear blade symbols
Maori Polynesian tattoo with spear blade symbols
Tribal tattoo on man's shoulder
Tribal tattoo on man’s shoulder
Maori tattoo on shoulder with spear blade symbols and red color
Maori tattoo on shoulder with spear blade symbols and red color
Maori tattoo design - man's shulder, interesting patterns
Maori tattoo design – man’s shulder, interesting patterns
Maori on shoulder with sun as a main pattern + spear blade + turtle shells
Maori on shoulder with sun as a main pattern + spear blade + turtle shells




Maori tattoo on man's chest
Maori tattoo on man’s chest
Maori tattoo design on man's calf
Maori tattoo design on man’s calf
Maori tattoo design on man's shoulder and chest
Maori tattoo design on man’s shoulder and chest

Maori Tattoo Ideas For Women

Maori tattoo on woman's chest turtle shells
Maori tattoo on woman’s chest turtle shells
Maori tattoo on woman's shoulder and back with turtle shells and warrior signs
Maori tattoo on woman’s shoulder and back with turtle shells and warrior signs
Maori tattoo sleeve mixed with symbols from other sources
Maori tattoo sleeve mixed with symbols from other sources
Maori tattoo with turtle shells on woman's back and shoulder
Maori tattoo with turtle shells on woman’s back and shoulder

Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 06 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 07 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 08 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 09 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 10 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 11




Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 12 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 13 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 14 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 15 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 16 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 17 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 18 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 19 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 21 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 22 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 23 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 24 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 25 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 26 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 27




Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 28 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 29 Maori tattoo design women best tattoo ideas inspiration 30

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