Why I wear both moko kauae and malu

“I can have my legs done and still be Māori, I can have my face done and still be Samoan” 

Charle and Gabrielle who carry the markings from both their cultures, shared their journey with Ohinga, discussing what it means to wear both a moko kauae and malu. 

For Charle, living in the small town of Tairua is what grounds her to being Māori, in the heart of where she calls home and only a few minutes from her marae. Receiving moko kauae came naturally. Her mulu was a way of outwarding blending her Samoan identity into who she is. 

Gabrielle has grown up strongly connected to her taha Māori and wearing moko kauae was a natural progression of that. The addition of her mulu was part of becoming more connected with her Samoan side. 

This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi with funding from Te Māngai Pāho. Stay tuned for a new episode every week. 

More stories:

Is it appropriate for non-Māori to have a moko?
Non-Māori having moko can be a controversial topic with a wide range of opinions. 

Asking my friends with moko whether I should get one too
Tā moko has had a resurgence and today there’s a new wave of young Māori who feel the pull to receive tā moko and in particular, moko kanohi.

Three sisters receive moko kauae by traditional uhi method
For Rangiatea, Te Maia, and Pirihinekurarangi Tuhakaraina-Simon it’s been a special journey, one they were determined to take together.