Tufunga Tātatau Terje Koloamatangi is of Tongan and Norwegian Sami ancestry. Born in Nuku’alofa Tongatapu with ancestral ties to Kolovai, Pangaimotu Vava’u, and Åmøya, in Northern Norway. He lives in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Koloamatangi is an artist and cultural tattoo practitioner. His work is centred on the revival of tātatau faka-Tonga (customary Tongan tattooing), a passion he has maintained for over 20 years. His practice is built on historical accounts, gleaned from texts, museum collections, and Tongan oral traditions. Here, Terje Koloamatangi discusses the origins and uses of the Tongan custom of tātatau or tattooing.
On the weekend, 33 tattooists from around the world took part in Indigenous Ink 2015 – a tattooing festival held in Auckland at MIT Manukau. Te Papa was there at the invitation of organiser Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes. I had a small role hosting presentations and conversations among the tattooists and their
Tattooing is thousands of years of years old, and is a most visible part of New Zealand’s contemporary visual culture. It is a key expression of Maori identity and among Pacific Islands communities it is an important signifier of our cultural diversity – what connects us and what makes us different. This
Check out the new publication from Te Papa Press: Tatau: Samoan Tattoo, New Zealand Art, Global Culture Photographs by Mark Adams, with essays by Sean Mallon, Peter Brunt and Nicholas Thomas One hundred memorable images by documentary photographer Mark Adams present a powerful and moving portraits of a great Polynesian