Nikora, L. & Te Awekotuku, N. (2003). Cultural tattoos: meanings, descriptors, and attributions. In Nikora, L.W., Levy, M., Masters, B., Waitoki, W., Te Awekotuku, N., and Etheredge, R.J.M. (Eds). The Proceedings of the National Māori Graduates of Psychology Symposium 2002: Making a difference. Proceedings of a symposium hosted by the Māori & Psychology Research Unit at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, 29-30 November 2002 (pp.129-132). Hamilton, New Zealand: Māori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/861
Body piercing and tattoo/ta moko were initially seen to be practiced by sailors, criminals, specific cultural groups (e.g., Māori), or sub-cultural groups (e.g., bikers, gang members, adolescents). In recent times, these practices have become part of mainstream popular culture, and are enjoyed by a wide range of people. In this study, we set out to explore patterns of body modifying behaviour engaged in, or commented on, by a sample of university students. We invited undergraduate psychology students from two courses to complete an ‘online’ questionnaire. Students logged on to a web site, were presented with an information sheet, and invited to respond. In this paper, we present the reasons why people in this sample decided to obtain a tattoo and the meanings they ascribe to their modifications. We will also consider the observations that people make of those who have culturally inspired tattoos.
Maori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato