Friday, July 4, 2008


Ia ora na!

In Tahitian we say ‘May you have life’ when we meet each other.  This greeting of our ancestors inspires me today - and I honour them for their wisdom. I am a Tahitian tattoo artist living on the beautiful island of Huahine.  I also sculpt and paint.  

I have supported myself all my working life as a tattoo artist.  The symbols we use in Polynesia are deep and meaningful - the process of 'tatau' is a two-way exchange.  I always take the time to explain the symbolism to my clients.  It's important to know what you are carrying.

If you are coming to this part of the world, pay me a visit!  We live just a minute’s walk out of our main village of Fare: ask anyone they know who I am.  You can email me on

photo: Kirkland Photos


You may wonder why we called this blog 'Tattoo and Tapa'. Tihoti's passion is design using the ancient symbols used by his tupuna or ancestors. Mine is the same, but applied on a different surface.

The designs used by Tahitians in 'tatau' (tattoo) often crossed over into the designs used in 'ahu (tapa) decoration. Some of the deep symbolism used in tatau today in Tahiti is lost, although Tihoti feels that by using nature as our inspiration we can come to understand these designs again, and from there evolve those designs beyond our misunderstandings. But that understanding has to come from a Polynesian perspective.

I am fascinated by the designs and colours used in the ancient 'ahu - everything was symbolic. Much of this knowledge is forgotten today: but not entirely. For me it has become an exhilarating adventure of rediscovery.