Tā Moko Teachers Page 

Curriculum area

Social Studies


Identity, Culture, and Organisation 
Continuity and Change 

Cross curricular links

The Arts - Visual Art

Achievement levels

Levels 2 - 5


Years 3 -10


Excellence, Innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, Diversity

Key Competencies

Thinking, Relating to others, Participating and contributing

Achievement Objectives

Students will gain knowledge, skills, and experience to:

  • Understand how cultural practices reflect and express people's customs, traditions, and values
  • Understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes
  • Understand how people pass on and sustain culture and heritage for different reasons and that this has consequences for people
  • Understand how cultural interaction impacts on cultures and societies

Learning outcomes

  • Students will understand the cultural context of tā moko practice
  • Students will understand how this practice has changed and developed over time
  • Students will understand how many cultures have used varying forms of body adornment
  • Students will understand the resurgence of body adornment amongst many cultures

Post and pre-visit activities

  • Investigate the traditional context of tā moko - students can then share what they have found out.
  • Investigate how tā moko differs from tattoo.
  • Investigate the different patterns and designs used for tā moko and their meanings.
  • Invite a tā moko and/or tattoo artist to visit and talk to students.
  • Investigate the different tools used by tā moko artists and how these have changed over time and the impact that these changes have had on tā moko design.
  • Invite a member of the school community who might have tā moko to visit and talk to students about the significance that tā moko has for them.
  • Investigate different cultures' approaches to body adornment - compare and contrast patterns, styles, and significance.



Hatfield, G T, with photography by Patricia Steur. 2002. Dedicated By Blood: Whakautu Ki Te Toto: Renaissance of Ta Moko. New Zealand: Hunter Media.

King, M. 1992. Moko: Maori Tattooing in the 20th Century. Auckland: David Bateman.

Neleman, H. 1999. Moko: Māori Tattoo. Zurich: Edition Stemmle.

Robley, H G. 1896, reprinted 1987. Moko:The Art of Maori Tattooing. Papakura: Southern Reprints.