Te Uhi a Mataora is a national collective of tā moko artists formed in 2000 to preserve, enhance, and develop tā moko as a living art form. Many of these highly skilled artists come from a carving background, while others specialise in design. They share a depth of understanding of traditional forms and designs.
Te Uhi has developed a strong kaupapa (set of fundamental Māori principles) for the practice of tā moko. This kaupapa provides boundaries and guidelines: respect for traditional customs and practice; care for physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being; and utmost care for the health and safety of the person receiving the moko.
Tā moko belongs within Māori communities and Te Uhi works to strengthen the knowledge of the art in whānau (family), hapū (sub-tribes), and iwi (tribes). But there is also strong international interest in Māori moko design, through the tattoo industry. Te Uhi continues to address pressing issues concerning the intellectual property of tā moko and to make sure it is always practised with integrity.
On the one hand, Te Uhi strives to uphold the traditions of the past. On the other, it looks to the future, as the art of tā moko continues to evolve.