Moko – Maori tattooing in the 20th century – by Michael King Photographs Marti Friedlander
Moko is written by Michael King, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated historians, and photographed by Marti Friedlander, one of the country’s most eminent photographers.
One of New Zealand’s iconic books, originally published in 1972, it was a milestone in New Zealand publishing. Maori subject matter was not thought to be of interest to the New Zealand public at that time, and the author and photographer were relative unknowns – Moko was their first book.
To research this book, King and Friedlander travelled thousands of kilometres through the hinterland of New Zealand in 1970 to find and speak with those who were tattooed, or with people who had first-hand knowledge of the custom. King located71 women who had been given the moko under traditional circumstances, and many of this unique group of Māori women were able to be interviewed and photographed. For some their moko dated back into the last years of the nineteenth century and was applied in the traditional way, with a chisel; others were part of a brief resurgence in the art in the 1930s and 1940s, where needle tattooing was more common.
This surperb new edition reproduces the photographs from the original prints. Marti Friedlander’s photographs illustrate with skill and compassion the moko itself, the women who wore it and the environments in which they lived.