Moko artist draws inspiration from Matariki

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

In celebration of Matariki, talented Tūhoe artist, Te Haunui Tuna will be holding a tā moko workshop, giving a live demonstration for aspiring artists and the general Whakatāne public.

Tuna says, “I will be tattooing an image I drew of Matariki for Dr Rangi Mataamua’s new book. People can come along and sit down to watch the whole process of a tattoo being done. They can ask questions too. There will also be drawing tables with pencil and paper supplied. I also encourage others to bring their sketch books or any drawings they would like critiques on.”

Tuna says he will be tattooing Hōhepa Waenga from Te Whānau-ā-Apanui who will be travelling to Whakatāne with his whānau.

“He had read the new Matariki book and said he was captivated and in awe of my illustrations of Matariki,” says Tuna.

When asked what inspired his interpretation and illustration of Matariki for Dr Rangi Mataamua’s new book, he says, “I was inspired by strong-looking people, as in strong-willed, spiritually strong. But for the final illustration I had an idea of what I wanted to portray.  Her hair was inspired from Rua Kenana’s hair.”

The workshop is a timely event, not only coinciding with Matariki, but also the school holidays. He hopes to influence and motivate those who attend.

“I wanted to help people who are interested in art and to answer any questions that any artists had about art as a career. I was approached by one of the staff at the library if I was interested in being a part of their Matariki celebrations and thought a tattoo workshop would be a really good event for the school holidays.  I’m really lucky that I’m able to tattoo my Matariki piece during their celebration.

I’m hoping to attract anyone who is interested in art. Whether it be tattooing, painting, drawing, illustrating etc.  It’s open to all ages and has free entry. I’m hoping to inspire and be inspired.”

The workshop will be held tomorrow July 12 at the Whakatāne library from 10am to 4pm.

Te Haunui Tuna is known for his atua prints, which will be available for purchase at the workshop, along with t-shirts. 

To see more of Te Haunui Tuna's artwork go to his website HERE.