Sally Anderson's moko artist Inia Taylor slams critics

The artist who gave Sally Anderson her Tā moko tattoo has defended his actions, saying he did the tattoo because he didn't want to be racist. 

Auckland artist Inia Taylor said his "only reason for saying no would be because of her (Anderson's) race, and that wasn't where I wanted to go."

Mr Taylor told Radio NZ the criticism Ms Anderson has received is "quite disgusting" adding that "it's almost like a sore that needed to be squeezed out". 

"Why are Māori feeling so disenfranchised?" he asked. 

"And why are Pākehā feeling so left out of this?"

Mr Taylor said he spent a lot of time thinking about whether he should give Ms Anderson the moko she requested. He "talked for months beforehand" with his wife, until finally agreeing to give Ms Anderson the tattoo four years ago. 

Ms Anderson has only recently copped criticism from some of New Zealand's leading academics who argue moko kauae should not be worn by Pākehā women. 

On her website, Ms Anderson said the moko kauae (female chin tattoo) represents the work she carries out in her business. She's since faced backlash from Māori after using the moko on branding images.

Ms Anderson's Māori husband, Roger Te Tai, said it took him two-and-a-half years to "actually accept her" wanting to get the moko done. 

But Mr Te Tai has defended his wife's decision, telling Te Karere on Tuesday, "She's more Māori than you'll ever be." 

Despite artist Mr Taylor feeling frustrated about the criticism he's received regarding his decision to give Ms Anderson the moko, he told Radio NZ "the debate is good". 

He said he doesn't agree with Māori traditions being used for branding - something Ms Anderson has been accused of to promote her life coaching agency Evolved Leadership. 

"The person that came to me four years ago wasn't a life coach trying to brand a moko. I've since talked to Sally about that and I think she's learned a lesson there," Mr Taylor said. 

"I can't deny someone something, especially if other people think they are worthy, just because of race."