Reviving Moko Kauae


As I look at our whānau and the various tupuna paintings and photographs it is easy to see the beauty in carrying your whakapapa in such a prominent way. 

Kua roa tātou e pōhēhē ana, mā ngā kuia me ngā wāhine rangatira anake te moko kauae. Hēoi, hei tā Joni Brooking ko ngā kōrero kua tukuna mai e ōna tohunga tāmoko – mā ngā wāhine Māori katoa tēnei taonga. Ehara i te mea me matatau koe ki ngā tikanga Māori katoa, ko te mea nui kē ko ōu koha ki tō whānau, tō hapū, tō iwi, waihoki te hāpori.

For a long time now, there has been the misunderstanding that moko kauae was reserved only for our kuia or esteemed wāhine.  However, according to the teachings passed down to Joni Brooking, this taonga is for all wāhine Māori. You do not have to be an expert in all things Māori, it is however, your contribution to your people that is most important.

As I watch my daughter through kohanga and now into kura adorn herself with the kauae at every opportunity, the beauty of her confidence reminds me of the paintings of old. There was no stigma, no shame and in fact there was a pride in receiving the privilege of moko kauae. But the generations in between and the stigma we grew up with around cultural bias, suppressed language, tohunga suppression and anything that would hinder the continuation of our culture flourishing has meant the revival of so many things that many of us will only ever admire in others. 

This video was inspiring and I hope that one day should my daughter choose to adorn her face permanently that she may know when the time is right, why she is receiving it and what it will mean for her to carry it.

Video Credits: Waka Huia
Director: Jessikha Leatham-Vlasic 

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Monday, 15 July 2024

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