Photo: Moko Traditional Maori Face or Body Tattoo – New Zealand

Tā moko is a body and face marking or tattoo by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

While in the Bay of Islands on New Zealand’s North Island last January we met Brent Kerehona who was midway getting his moko and allowed us to take this photo and use it here, as long as one of us was in the shot. The girl is my lovely niece who was visiting us at the time.


Have you ever seen a moko? Have you been to New Zealand?

NaNoWriMo Update: My teen has only 1400 words to go, I have just over 3,000. We should both be done in the next two days.

Wordless Wednesday is a Blog Hop:

If you are participating, please link up. Don’t forget to visit some of the other wordless posts, and please leave a comment whenever you add a link.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends who are celebrating.

Photo: Rainbow Falls in Keri Keri, New Zealand
Celebrating Two NaNoWriMo Winners in the Family!
About Rhonda Albom

When I met my hubby he was looking for a traveling companion. Together we have moved to New Zealand and visited over 42 countries, most with our now teenage girls. Things rarely go as planned, and generally we have an amusing tale to tell. That's what Laugh Quotes is about - the fun side of our adventures and our expat life.


  1. wow…I’ve never seen anything like that before. I wonder if it is permanent?

  2. Oh boy – that’s an interesting look for sure.

  3. I remember seeing someone with it in the movie Whale Rider.

  4. Elise Fallson says:

    I’ve seen this before but never in real life. And that was really nice of him to let you take that picture. I’ve found that more often than not, if you ask nicely, people will allow you to take pictures. I remember asking to take pictures in an open market in France and the guy there was really nice about it and even thanked me for asking first. I’d love to go to New Zealand someday…

  5. No to both questions. That was very nice of that gentleman to allow his picture to be posted . Very interesting tradition.

  6. No to both for me too I have never seen that before I agree with Patricia very interesting ;-)

    Have a tanfastic week and thanks for sharing ;-)

  7. Not yet ;o)

  8. Yes I’ve seen one before and I’ve never been to New Zealand. Perhaps one day I will. I want to see America first.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  9. No to both, but I suppose it looks a lot better than the tattoos I’ve seen on some American faces.

  10. Wonderful! Impressive that tattoo!

  11. My aunt and uncle lived in NZ for a year when my uncle had a contracted job near Wellington, so I’m sure they took the chance to meet some Maori. Pretty cool stuff!

  12. Very interesting! I have never been to New Zealand. Thanks for sharing and hosting Rhonda.

  13. Never been to New Zealand. Would love to some day.

  14. No to both questions. I’d love to visit New Zealand someday though.

    Congrats to you and your teen!

  15. I’ve never seen one in person, but have seen photos and documentaries of these remarkable tatoos and the faces that wear them. Happy WWW and Thanksgiving Day

  16. I’m not a big fan of tattoos in general. One on the face, uh un.

  17. I have never seen this in person. I guess its ok for guys to have tattoo on their face.

  18. Wow! that is so cool.. :)

    Happy Wordless Wednesday! My entry is here.

  19. I’m not a big fan of the wide-coverage tattoos that are becoming very common here but in this case, the face markings were beautiful.

  20. we also were in Bay of Islands, but in February. I didn’t think of it, but getting tatos on the face must be very painful :(

  21. I live in Lewisham in south London and I occasionally see a guy who had his face tattooed with a spider’s web when he was in his teens. I’ve spoken to him, and he seems a nice guy, though he did tell me he wishes he’d never had his face tattooed. It has prevented him from getting a job or finding a girlfriend since he did it as a punk in 1976. In short, it ruined his life.

    Brent’s mojo is on a different level and it does look very majestic. Even so, I bet he’s kicking himself for not getting a spider’s web!

    • LOL – I’ll bet he never thought about a spiderweb tattoo before today :)

    • Kia Ora Rhonda,

      I’ve just been told about your site recently, and so, had a look at the photo and the accompanying comments.

      Thank you for your kind words and your positive portrayal of Ta Moko, it is always great to have others show an interest and appreciation for another’s cultural practice/s.

      @Jim – As a school teacher, when explaining what my moko is to some students, I have jokingly told them that as I walked out to the car, I walked it a spiders-web and desperately tried to get it off (whilst flailing my arms about furiously) and said that it you get spider-web on your skin and don’t remove it in time, it leaves lines or marks. Funny, some believe it (until I explain it later) and others laugh it off as a joke ;)

      It was a pleasure to meet you and your husband and please pass on my regards to your niece as well.

  22. I’ve never been to New Zealand, but I had a teacher from there in high school. She was super fun and cool.
    My entry is #44. Come by and vote for us?

  23. I agree with Shere that a face tattoo would be quite “painful.” Glad that you and your daughter have made so much progress with NaNo!

  24. WOW very cool … thanks for sharing!

  25. I’ve never been to New Zealand but would love to visit someday. Interesting artwork. He wears it well! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you had a nice holiday.

  26. That is interesting!I love learning about new cultures. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Just a heads up, the native people of New Zealand are Māori, not Mauri. Saw tons of the Moko tattoos while I was there for a year, it is fascinating. I had a Māori tattoo designed for myself for my shoulder. Each symbol means something different and are used to describe past, present, and future for that person, as well as family history and even property sometimes!

    • So embarrassed about my typo. Thanks for catching it. Wish my proofreader had caught it. (I would fire him, but we’re married.)
      Thanks for the added information. Would love to see a photo of your tattoo.

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