7:30 PM Wednesday 11 June 2014 – MTG Century Theatre, 9 Herschell Street, Napier
About 150 people braved a wet night to attend this lecture by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Professor of Māori Research and Development, University of Waikato. An additional aspect was provided by MTG Napier opening for people to see exhibits. In particular, a selection of chisels of various ages were on display, along with a Goldie portrait that clearly illustrated the depth of scarring created by ta moko.
After almost dying out in the 20th century, moko is now worn by many young Māori as a symbol of identity and ethnic pride. The Marsden-funded research team looked at the history and technology of moko – searching through old manuscripts and artefacts held by institutions across the world.
Community participation was an essential part of documenting the modern moko revival. The research team interviewed moko wearers and artists and examined the cultural and spiritual issues surrounding moko wearing, including the controversy sometimes apparent in modern life.
They also examined the exploitation of moko in popular culture around the world by figures such as rock singers and football players.
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku works at the University of Waikato researching ritual, heritage and gender issues. She is of Te Arawa, Waikato and Tuhoe descent and has worked for many years in the heritage and creative sectors as a curator, governor and advocate.
Her book Mau Moko: The World of Māori Tattoo was the winner of the inaugural Ngā Kupu Ora Māori book of the decade.
This lecture was part of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s 10 x 10 Lecture series, celebrating 20 years of Marsden Fund research.