Scribble-face making a comeback?

Most cultures advance as we learn more. After all Scots no longer paint their faces with woad, Vikings ceased raiding and the Danes eventually went home from England.

Here in NZ Maori continue to hanker for and wish for a return to the old ways…you know when the average life expectancy was around 30 and people scribbled on their faces.

For generations it seemed to have vanished, but journalist Mihingarangi Forbes believes the ta moko and moko kauae (female chin tattoos) are making a comeback.

More and more she spots the tattoo upon the faces and chins of younger people.  

“It is such a beautiful thing to do; to recognise and affiliate with the places and people you came from,” she says.

Just as the moko returns to mainstream Aotearoa, Forbes is coming back to our screens. While continuing her work as Radio New Zealand’s Maori affairs correspondent, from next week she will also host The Hui, a current affairs show screening Sunday nights on TV3.

She doesn’t see a conflict – her RNZ job is reporting, whereas on The Hui she will present and interview. “The satisfaction of completing an interview, of finding new ground, getting somewhere with it, is overwhelming. As much as I love reporting – and I’ve loved getting back into daily news – I wanted that challenge of doing [live interviews] again.”

As for her own (temporary) moko? “The design is taken from another moko on my body – it’s a replica of something on my back. I’m totally about not ripping off intellectual property from other people. It’s a design that was given to me.”

“I rang my Nan and she said ‘Moko? You just do what you want to do. Ka pai. Send me a picture.”

How quaint…if people want to scribble on their faces then they can’t go complaining about the lack of job prospects…though they will be the same sort of people who cry racist at the drop of a hat so I expect they will run off to the Human Wrongs Commission for compensation.



Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.