Revealing Mataora: Traditional Maori facial markings

honour your connection...

Documenting my brother as he receives his ancestral markings – his mataora – a closed Māori practise of receiving traditional facial markings. He received his markings here in Australia by Ta Moko artist: Turumakina Duley of Arts Elemental.

Being able to walk beside my brother as he journeys to receive his ancestral markings, his Mataora, has been one of my greatest experiences. The last six months has been such a transformation phase for our whānau, and I’m beyond proud of the work my bro has done in the many lifetimes he has lived in his short 40years on this Earth.

On this morning, 3 weeks ago, we packed our sleepy babies in the car and drove to the beach to beat the Sunrise. As the Sun began to kiss the horizon, the silence of the morning was pierced with the sound of karanga as we, manuhiri (guests to this land) called on to Yugambeh Country. Our babies, followed along as though parts of them were being awakened and they knew exactly what to do. My brother then performed a haka for Tangaroa – our Atua of the Sea – before cleansing his tinana (body) and wairua (spirit) in te moana. The sister @jem_justjem calling upon her ancestors for a smoking ceremony for her tāne, to further cleanse his vessel and prepare him to receive his markings.

We all left the beach that morning feeling so at peace, with hearts so full, ready to begin the next phase of my brothers journey………….