Australian magazine features picture of non-Māori with moko

By Harata Brown
  • Australia

An Australian Edition of a fashion magazine has published a picture of a non-Māori model sporting a traditional Māori moko.

Although an art historian has come out saying that it is an insult to Māori, one tā moko expert says there are lessons that can be learnt from this.

Dr Ngarino Ellis, of The University of Auckland, has come out saying the traditional facial marking on a non-Māori model was offensive.

Tā moko expert Gordon Toi (Ngāpuhi) says, “Is it an insult?  I don't think so, I think we are a little bit over the top on that." 

"For those that are ignorant about our art form, there are avenues that we can take to educate them."

Toi has provided his art skills by adorning non-Māori with moko, and he was also a cultural advisor for the use of tā moko on the Hollywood Blockbuster, Ender Games which premiered last year.

Magazine Marie Claire have apologised if they have caused offense.

They also stated that the image was not created or commissioned by Marie Claire, but one chosen as part of a retrospective of the work of the fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier.  

Toi says that our art forms should not be limited but believes there are proper avenues to be followed if promoted internationally.