Thursday, February 19, 2009
A Time For Tattoo
Rotorua’s Henriata Nicholas is a renowned Ta Moko (tattoo) artist, who works with both locals and visitors. Moko, or tattoo is a visual language that connects the wearer to their whakapapa (genealogy) and all tattooed symbols have a meaning – usually a tribal link that tells the background and stories of the wearer. Henriata, a passionate painter and sculptor who has exhibited nationally and internationally, achieved her dream of becoming a Ta Moko artist in 2002, when she spent three months in Hawaii working with traditional tattoo practitioners of Kakau – tapping ink into the skin with traditional tools. That experience broadened her horizons and kick-started her confidence to practise Uhi Ta Moko fully and she’s been creatively inspired ever since. Henriata says her clients bring a vision with them and that inspires her designs for their tattoo. “We spend time talking about who they are, what makes them unique and special and where they’re from. I do the same. I share myself with them so they know they can have control over what we create. This can go on for a couple of weeks, or months – sometimes years – before they have reached a time in their life when they want to complete it by putting the pattern on their skin,” she says.