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Kuia Mau Moko


Wed 13 Jan 2016, 9:00am–6:00pm
Thu 14 Jan 2016, 9:00am–6:00pm
Fri 15 Jan 2016, 9:00am–6:00pm
Sat 16 Jan 2016, 9:00am–6:00pm
Sun 17 Jan 2016, 9:00am–6:00pm

Where: Rotorua Museum, Oruawhata Drive, Government Gardens, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Museum Admission Adult: $20.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Rotorua Museum

Kuia Mau Moko is an exhibition of 29 black and white photographs of Māori kuia who bore the indelible legacy of ‘moko kauae’ - the tradition of incising and imbedding pigment into the skin on the chin of Māori women.

Photographed by Marti Friedlander in the late 1960s and early 70s at a time when it was believed the sun was setting on this ancient tradition, these photographs featured in the extraordinary 1972 publication authored by the late Michael King, Moko – Māori Tattooing in the 20th century.

King and Friedlander’s journey into heartland Aotearoa uncovered a generation of kuia who were the last in an unbroken tradition to receive moko kauae in the 1920s. The book has continued to inspire researchers of ta moko (the application of moko), practitioners and the revival of the moko kauae tradition over the last 20 years.

The kuia are photographed in their natural environment - in their homes, their gardens or on their marae - and each has a story of resilience, loss and of sorrow for a way of life that was fast slipping away to become a distant memory. Not one of them realising that within two decades moko kauae would begin a quiet revival that would eventually see hundreds of Māori women proudly bearing the moko of their ancestors and reconnecting the past with the future once again.

Gifted to Te Papa in 2009 from the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust, this is the only full set of the original photographs from this collaboration in existence. A specific condition of the gift is that the ‘Moko’ collection be shared with the nation as was the intention when the kuia were photographed and interviewed.

Kuia Mau Moko is developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The exhibition will be on display at Rotorua Museum from 21 November 2015 until 17 January 2016.
Entry to the exhibition is included in Rotorua Museum’s admission price, which is free for Rotorua residents with relevant ID. General Museum admission: Adults $20, seniors $18 and children $8.

For further information please contact Rotorua Museum, phone 07 350 1814 or email

Image credit: Marti Friedlander, Tiripou Haerewa, from the series ‘The Moko Suite’, about 1971, gelatin silver print. Gift of The Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust, 2009. Te Papa (O.33739)

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