Kuia Mau Moko: Photographs by Marti Friedlander presents 29 black-and-white photographs of Māori kuiakuia elderly women, who were the last generation to receive the unbroken tradition of moko kauaemoko kauae female tattooing in the 1920s.
The photographs were taken in the late 1960s and early 1970s for use in historian Michael King’s book Moko: Māori tattooing in the 20th century – a time when it was believed the sun had set on this ancient tradition.
The photographs tell a story of resilience, loss, and sorrow for a way of life that was fast slipping away. Within two decades though, moko kauae would begin a quiet revival. Today hundreds of Māori women proudly bear the moko of their ancestors – connecting the past with the present.
The photos were gifted to Te Papa in 2009 from the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust.
Touring exhibition venues
Kuia Mau Moko: Photographs by Marti Friedlander is available as a touring exhibition now.
Planning to visit? Check the venue website for confirmed dates.
Mark Kent, Touring Exhibition Manager
Phone: +64 (0)4 381 7191