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The last tattooed Maori women, Te Kuia Moko

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The last tattooed Maori women, Te Kuia Moko – Text & paintings by Harry Sangl

Te Kuia Moko is a taonga recording 34 Māori women, all bearing moko kauae (chin tattoos). First published in 1980 as The Blue Privilege, this new printing evidences the book’s ongoing importance as a record of moko art.

The full-colour portraits were all compiled by immigrant artist Harry Sangl between 1972 and 1975; most of the kuia featured had been born in the nineteenth century, and many were of Ngāi Tūhoi descent.

Biographies of the kuia, many of whom are of Ngai Tuhoe descent, are printed substantially as they spoke them, accompanied by black-and-white sketches of the moko. Essays by Merimeri Penfold and D.R. Simmons set the moko kauae in context and round out what is a publication of enduring value and beauty.

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