Velvet Stone Media Ltd Moko - A Documentary

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Jessica Sanderson, Lara Northcroft
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Mike Ogle, Bevan Crothers, Arli Liberman, David McLean
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Mark Kopua Riki Manuel Rangi Kipa Gordon Toi Ngahuia Te Awekotuku Julie Paama-Pengelly Heemi Te Peeti Te Rangitu Netana Inia Taylor Viv Manuel Rob Ruha Prof Mera Penehira Te Kaha Wairere Tama ItiTurumakina Duley Whare Hohepa Taukamo Christine Harvey, Inia Taylor, Colin Kiriona, Reo Irirangi Tutengaehe, Oriini Kaipara, Te Kanawa Ngarotata Artist Henare Brooking" "Tyler Jade Whatarangi, Mokonui-ā-rangi Smith, Pip Hartley, Hohua Mohi

The decline of traditional tā moko (Māori tattoo) and its modern-day revival is explored in a compelling story of survival, self-determination, courage, healing and reclamation of identity.

MOKO features tā moko artists, Māori academics, and wearers of tā moko speaking directly to issues of colonisation, intellectual property rights, and the tikanga that guides and defines tā moko in Aotearoa.

Director Jessica Sanderson (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, Te Ātiawa) describes working on MOKO as one of the most challenging, humbling, and privileged experiences of her life.

“I have revered moko since I was very little. I loved looking at paintings of my tūpuna, who wore moko. Like most of us though, it came with a tinge of sadness about why I saw such a beautiful taonga so rarely on the living,” says Jessica Sanderson.

“This series is a peak into the world of moko and I hope this series inspires those who want to know more, to start within their own rohe and wānanga there – I know that’s what this experience has done for me. The pull to go home, to reconnect and learn more about our tūpuna has never been stronger.”

Producer, Lara Northcroft (Te Arawa, Tūwharetoa, Waikato) says tā moko – mataora and moko kauae – were worn with pride and honour and signified one's role in their hāpu or iwi. It could proclaim a person’s achievements in life – what they were good at, what they had done, where they were from.

Northcroft says tā moko was one of the first things to be discouraged through colonisation and missionary influence.

“The newly dominant culture saw it as ‘uncivilised’, and so it was largely lost. Its revival was a conscious decision by different groups to bring this taonga back to life,” says Lara Northcroft.

Northcroft believe the series will spark conversation and debate,

“As Māori we are not all the same, it was important to me that the series be a collection of voices and views on this kaupapa – from different rohe across the motu. We all have our own relationship to moko and we wanted to honour that difference.”