Traditional (hand poked) tattoo convention

With tattooing’s recent boom in popularity, tattoo conventions are a dime a dozen now. So normally, I wouldn’t  bother posting promotional material for  one. However, this tattoo convention is so different, I felt it is 100% worthy of a plug on here.

ManWoman actually sent us the information on this convention, and the fact he was involved was enough to get me interested. The convention will take place  in Cobh, Cork Co. Ireland on the 10th and 11th of July.  The tattooing will all be hand-poked traditional, even Eskimo tattooing. ManWoman will be guest speaker and will also be interviewed for a swastika documentary.


PS: If any modblog readers make it out to this, be sure to send up some pictures!

25 thoughts on “Traditional (hand poked) tattoo convention

  1. I’m there, got my flight booked, tickets ready and appointment made! And ofcourse I’ll take my camera, so if you are interested I can mail you the photo’s.

  2. Ireland!? I wish I could attend this! I love hand poked tattoos, especially doing my own.

  3. Ah! I love manwoman! He was a guest speaker at my college, and was definitely the most interesting person that came to talk to us. That being said, a traditional convention is a fantastic idea!

  4. aarrgghh…. i would love love love to go !
    i’ve handpoked and taped nearly all my legs and hips, it would suit me much more than a machine work convention…. life is sooo unfair, lol !

  5. Has any one else noticed that the main image on the poster is a Wheku/Koruru doing a Pukana, and yet the only mention of Maori tattooing is some British guy who’s apparently a specialist in “Maori style” tattooing? I’ve tried looking the guy up, and he doesn’t LOOK Maori, but one could be mistaken if he’s an ex-pat NZer of Maori descent. But even then, calling yourself a specialist in it? Where did he do his research, here in NZ or out of books and films? It’s disappointing that, yet again, any anthropological look at body modification is instantly linked with te ao Maori and Maori aren’t represented in any meaningful way.

  6. Jon P That was my first thought too. I’m Pakeha but grew up with in an area with strong cultural ties. As a Kiwi, particularly in a rural setting, you grow up learning the importance of our national heritage. That image and what it represents are tapu and should be treated as such. One has to wonder if they have ever heard of Te Uhi a Mataora.

    At least the image is being used to promote tattooing not cars etc as it has been in the past – worst of all that video game where the developers made a big deal about being Maori influenced then gave their lead character a female moko, I forget what the games called.

  7. not all the tattooing will be hand poked, some of the artists are using machines…

    also, we are all one people and the heritage of the whole earth is ours to share and enjoy. divisions of race, culture and nationality only exist to keep us apart and prevent us from fulfilling our collective destiny…

    peace and love…

  8. i can’t believe this made it to modblog,its just down the road from me! i feel so involved, ha!
    it should be frickin’ awesome, but i hear the tickets are a bit pricey

  9. re: Boff… um, no. We’re not all one people. We are a wonderful tapestry of peoples, plural, not singular. Respect for other cultures is a necessity. Taking a cultural practice out of its indigenous context does nothing for the people it is taken from, nor the practice itself. It would have been easier to feature a tribal motif from an indigenous person who is actually going to be at the festival, as opposed to a motif from a people who have absolutely no representation. And then to have a “Maori style” tattooist as the only example of that peoples’ tattooing is in rather bad taste.

    Hippy-isms and cultural dialogue aside, bravo to the organiser of the festival for putting it on. I would loved to have attended and perhaps even given a talk on the origins of taa moko, Maori history, cultural, and tikanga.

  10. Inuit is the correct term for Eskimo.
    Its kinda like saying “even black people specialist tattooing”
    instead of african american. damn PC-ness.

  11. @Digits: The inuit people are actually a subset of those referred to as eskimo, as well as yupik people and a number of other smaller groups. Calling all eskimos inuit is akin to calling all black people african americans. Granted, in canada and greenland the term eskimo is frowned upon, but that is because the other groups aren’t present there to be offended by it.

  12. Jon P: Ha, I didn’t get the memo saying that you had to have hoooly blood to be a specialist in a style… because I mean, it makes sense that if someone’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Maori, automatically makes them the only person who can specialize in the style, even though the previous four descendants never taught one another. Cool beans.

  13. re: chokehold. Well, I would think it a little suspicious if a person claimed to be a “specialist” in a style they’d only learned through books or documentaries. To be a specialist in Maori tattooing, one would need to travel here to New Zealand to study under one of the tohunga ta moko like Mark Kopua or Derek Lardelli, or would need to be tutored by a tohunga ta moko who had travelled to teach you.

    One needs to understand the history behind each form which constitutes the basic designs in ta moko, the history of its use, and reasons for its subsequent suppression. But one also needs to understand and immerse oneself in te ao Maori. Otherwise, you’re just copying designs you’ve seen. Sure, you may have an aesthetically pleasing, solid tattoo at the end of it, but how Maori is it really?

    As Mark Kopua once said (and I am paraphrasing here), ta moko is 99.9% community, whanau, hapu and iwi and only 0.1% tattoo. Also, a commonly held belief, which is a source of contention for those ta moko artists looking to profit from their skills overseas, is that ta moko is about whakapapa Maori. Tauiwi without whakapapa Maori are owners of kirituhi, not ta moko.

    The point to be made here is that there is nothing wrong with saying you enjoy Maori “style” tattoos, that you enjoy applying them, that you find it pleasing to work with someone’s body to tailor the koru and other designs to flow with their natural form. But claiming to be a specialist in Maori style tattooing connotes a connection to said art form, an experience which makes you a specialist, and if you haven’t been here, haven’t faced a pukana with a taiaha fluttering before you, touched noses in hongi, tasted hangi freshly raised from the pit, and lain side by side with others in the Wharenui or Whare-tupuna, you don’t really have that connection, do you?

    I mean… if I came up to you, saw you were a “specialist” in Maori tattooing, said “Ka mau te wehi, e hoa!” and leaned in to rub my nose on yours… would your immediate reaction be to flinch or pull away, or would you immediately lean in and rub right back?

  14. It may be important to note here, for those who do not speak any te reo, that ‘tohunga ta moko’ roughly translates to ‘specialist in the art of moko’. So to call yourself a specialist but never mention a tohunga ta moko suggests that you have not trained under one and therefore cannot call yourself one.

    Btw as I mentioned before I do not have “hoooly blood”. This isn’t about blood it’s about understanding a culture.

  15. Jon complaining (quite rightly so) to the poster of the show stating me Mike Hicks to being a Maori specialist.
    I Have never claimed to be a specialist in a maori style, I did not have anything to do with the design of the poster I asked for the words Maori and specialist to be omitted tho the final print remains with this untrue statement. I ‘ve won awards for my ‘polynesian’ style tattoo artwork, all my work is freehand never copied and of highest standard and respect. I was seen tattooing maori inspired tattoo at a show leading to me being invited to the Cork.
    I have absolutely no claim to being a maori speciailst I want to make that clear.
    the work I have done getting ancestor remains returned to New Zealand has brought me in touch with a number of Maori people who I hold in the highest respect.I have visited New Zealand a number of times.
    I HAVE NEVER MADE CLAIM TO BEING A MAORI STYLE SPECIALIST, like most most ill informed westerners’ I wouldn’t know what the fuck one was, in the same way calling themselves Japanese specialist just because they’ve tattooed a koi I have never used the word moko, and kirituhi would be the only term I’d use other than tattoo to describe a ‘maori style tattoo’!
    Take it up with the guys who design the poster, and of course please feel free to contact me
    Looking forward to an excellent show
    Mike Hicks

  16. re: 22. Mike, you’re the type of person that SHOULD be doing Maori inspired/style tattooing. It’s quite cool to read your take on the whole thing and to read of your respect for the artwork you produce. The fact that you’ve done work to have toi moko and moko mokai returned to Aotearoa speaks volumes about your connection to the art form. :)

    It’s really an issue of cultural appropriation, one that is prevalent and ongoing. Shannon and I used to disagree over just how appropriate appropriation is, and I’m sure we would still disagree. But that’s not to say that my posts were ever aimed specifically at you, Mike. They were concerned with the idea of a “specialist” without a connection to the art form’s cultural context, which you have explained you do. Even down to your preference of the term “Kirituhi” over “Ta Moko”.

    Chur bro :)

  17. So glad you posted this, Sean. I’ll be there and can’t wait. It seems more like a family reunion that convention.

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