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Top Māori Tā Moko Artists unleash Moko at WOMAD

Toi Māori Media Release
Tuesday 18 March 2008
For Immediate Release

Country’s top Māori Tā Moko Artists unleash Moko at WOMAD Festival in Taranaki

Te Uhi a Mataora – Toi Māori Aotearoa, a collective of the country’s top Māori Tā Moko Artists honed their precision skills in the art and renaissance of Moko (Māori tattoo) at WOMAD in Taranaki from Friday 14 March through to Sunday night finishing at 10.30pm every night during the festival.

Renowned artist and Co – Chair of Te Uhi Mark Kopua from Uawa - Tologa Bay, Richard Francis from Ngati Pikiao – Te Arawa based in Rotorua and Turumakina Duley from Tūhoe, based in Auckland, executed their skills in the implementation and creation of moko at Te Paepae.

This was an area of cultural welcome hosted by Taranaki iwi. Taranaki Tā Moko artist Heemi Sundgren also unleashed his creations on willing participants including a Brazilian Performing artist wanting moko forever etched on their bodies.

Derek Lardelli, Chair of Te Uhi a Mataora and Kapa Haka Leader for Whangara mai Tawhiti – current reigning champions of the prestigious Matatini Festival of Māori Performing Arts, oversaw the work of the Te Uhi Tā Moko artists and offered many compliments and provided wisdom and advice to his committee during the WOMAD festival.

Derek’s kapa haka group, Whangara mai Tawhiti, most whom are descendants of revered ancestor Paikea, the Whale Rider, wowed and dazzled the audiences and left them spellbound with 3 major performances on the main stages at WOMAD.

Te Uhi members Richard Francis and Turumakina Duley also assisted in drawing moko on the performer’s faces,

”While we are here, we may as well put our skills to maximum use!”

And so they did! The moko drawn on the faces looked awesome and not to mention very accurate.

Mark, who was busy applying a traditional moko kauwae to one recipient of Taranaki descent said,

“I don’t think you could have asked for a better deal than that! Te Uhi is here to promote the kaupapa of moko so why not on the stage in front of thousands of people! At least we know the drawn on moko would be accurate”

Te Uhi revelled in participating at WOMAD this year and catered for many people from all different backgrounds who were interested in their kaupapa. This was an awesome event and great exposure for them!


About Toi Māori Aotearoa:
Toi Māori Aotearoa is the national organisation for Māori art and artists and receives major funding from Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. For more information go to our website:

About the Artists:
For more information about the artists, please visit their website:

Derek Lardelli:

Heemi Sundgren:

Mark Kopua:

Richard Francis:

Turumakina Duley:

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