He Tohu Kahurangi, He Tohu Rangatira

If you are considering receiving the facial markings from Turumakina, we ask that you peruse this page to gain an understanding of the protocols and processes one must go through to embark on the journey of mataora/kauae.  Mataora & Kauae are reservedly for those of Maori descent only. To wear the markings of your ancestors proudly, it is necessary to also understand the history of these markings. 

Some of the korero shared here comes from a variety of sources and also from a personal standpoint. Do note that not all moko artists or moko enthusiasts espouse to this peka korero. For as many diverse marae and hapu there are, there are also just as many diverse tikanga, korero and beliefs. 

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The story of Mataora and Niwareka is found in Te Kauae Runga, the Celestial basket of the esoteric book of knowledge that was composed from the oral history of Kahungunu, who originated in North of Te Ika aa Maaui. This historical record talks of Mataora retrieving the Taonga of Moko from the Realm of Rarohenga, the Underworld, where his wife Niwareka was from. 


Niwareka fled back to her home land after her husband beat her, a domestic violence occurance. He regretted his mistake and journeyed to her homeland to seek forgiveness and win her hand back. He was of course confronted by her Father and their people for the violence inflicted upon their daughter, this is not the way of Rarohenga! Rarohenga is a place of peace and Love. 


This sets the basis for the foundation of the Pathway of Mataora. He Tohu Rangatira! The Mark of Nobility, nobility in the sense of integrity and a self directed sense of morality and ethics that seeks to be a good person, of service to others, to the community. A stance of responsibility to your community at large, both human and to all the children of Papatuuaanuku, animal, plant and fish alike, for we are in fact the teina, ie: the youngest sibling in this symbiotic relationship with nature. 


In short, to wear this mark you should seek to be a good person!  Mata-Ora, the living face or the face of well being, should be a mark of transformation. We all have made mistakes in our lives, may this journey remind you everyday to make good choices for yourself and everyone around you.

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Hine-Nui-Te-Po was created in the beginning as Hine-Ahu-One; the earth formed maiden, and was given the breath of life by Taane her Creator. She was known from that point on as Hine-Tii-Tama, the dawn maiden, signalling the dawn of humanity, the original mother of human kind. But once she learnt that her husband (Taane) was also her father, she was heartbroken and fled to Rarohenga, the underworld to become Hine-Nui-Te-Po.


When Maaui endeavoured to gain immortality for humanity by changing his form into that of a lizard and passing through the womb of Hine-Nui-Te-Po and taking out her heart while she slept, so that there would be no one in Rarohenga to welcome the spirits of the dead, he failed in his attempt and it costed him his life. The great lady of the night awoke and crushed him between her legs! The manawa (centre passage way) of the Kauae represents this pathway via which Maaui attempted to enter Hine-Nui-Te-Po.


Maui gained his knowledge of magic and earthly skills from his kuia (grandmother), Muri-Ranga-Whenua who gave him her knowledge symbolised as her lower jaw, as it was he who would come to feed her because she was blind. 


It was from her jawbone that he fashioned Te-Matau-aa-Maaui, the famous hook that he used to fish up the land of Te-Ika-aa-Maaui. This jawbone represents Te Kauwae Raro, the basket of Terrestrial knowledge, the Knowledge of Papatuuaanuku, our Primal mother. 


As you can see Maaui’s life was guided by and ended by feminine Atua (Deities). Te-Ara-Puapua-aa-Maaui is a reminder to mankind just who has the last say! This planet is feminine, and our women are the mothers of mankind, the womb a sacred passage way that new and old spirits alike enter into this world of light, to enact their destinies in the world.


Te Mana oo te Wahine! 

Process for Mataora & Kauae

The pathway to Mataora/Kauae is a process of seeking the support and guidance of your whanau and elders in undertaking this life changing experience. Tattooing the face can have obvious social implications, our modern world is of a capitalistic and politically biased structure, and one must be prepared for some challenging encounters from society.


Jobs have been terminated and denied, racism and fear can make people react to your pathway in undesirable ways. So having that support system in place will mitigate a sense of aloneness, and in fact will strengthen your stance and choice to wear this noble mark with a humble pride and rooted strength.


Approach the journey in a ceremonial manner, this is a rites of passage! And should be taken on at an important time in life. Having a good kaupapa or reason will ground the journey with mana! It is your birthright as a Maori descendant, but should be taken up as a benchmark of achievement or a commemoration of an important person or event in ones life. Not because it’s trendy!

The next step is to ensure you resonate with Turumakina's mahi and energy. To better understand him as an individual and as your kai ta, here's a poem he wrote on the sacred work of ta moko to give you an insight of how highly he respects the mahi and the connection he shares with the wearer. 

Turumakina Duley, Ta Moko Artist

MOKO - The Ancient Mark

Born of Rarohenga in the realms of the deep

Through mists of the ages the sages do keep 

The sacred links and priestly connections 

To WhakaRuuaumoko the fledgling god turned under, 

Beneath the surface of mother Gaia, 

Given to him a sacred fire, 

Eruptions volcanic through veins of the earth

Our mother left beautifully scarred and adorned gives birth to her children

Of the redness of earth from Kurawaka are we, 

Reflecting the gods perfectly, divinely

Great Taane our father progenitor true

Of Hine and Tiki from Papatuuaanuku!


Deep are the furrows of kauri stained brows, 

Ancient the blood stained chisel that ploughs, 

Through flesh and bone, 

Ancestral lines chiefly in origin and intent

This privileged legacy of sacred descent 

Masterfully delineated in symmetrical prose

Resting on layers of glory and woes

Bridging the worlds of darkness and light

Mataora and Niwareka in their fateful plight

He of the light and She of the night

Brought chisel and healing to the realm of the light

Thus are the origins of the ancient mark

Thus is the journey of which we embark.

If all the above resonates with you, then by all means please proceed with the booking process