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Ta’aroa Hat

Copyright Lisa McFetridge - 2014
Tattooing is a sacred ceremony in Polynesian culture. The location of tattoos on the body were decided by a person’s lineage, place in society & life achievements. Traditionally, high-ranking Māori were tattooed. Those without tattoos were at the lowest social level. According to myth, humans learned the art of tattoo from the 2 sons of Ta’aroa, God of Creation, & so comes the name of the hat. Tattooing was part of a religious ceremony & done by a shaman who was an expert in the meanings of the tattoos as well as a skilled artist.

This hat uses motifs common in Polynesian, Samoan and Maori tattoos. Included are Shark Teeth (bottom band); Clamshells (second band); the Marquesas Cross (third band); Ocean Waves (fourth band); and the Enata (top band.) The shark teeth, clamshells and waves are representative of the presence of these things in daily life. The Marquesas Cross represents the balance between the elements, harm

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