One woman's story of getting her moko kauae

Moko kauae is making a comeback.

The sacred Māori artform was suppressed through legislation, but in recent years it's had a resurgence with more women getting them etched on their chins.

Thirty-nine-year old Christchurch mum Teresa Butler is one of this growing number.

However, while moko kauae is becoming more widespread throughout Aotearoa, it's a different landscape in rural Canterbury - so Teresa made sure to bring her community along for the ride when she decided she was going to get hers done.

"I don't want people to see me and feel horrified, I just want people to have an understanding and love for it."

Teresa grew up in Christchurch and now lives in Rolleston, a small Canterbury township on the outskirts of Christchurch. Teresa posted her plans on the Rolleston community Facebook page and invited everyone to come to her house to be a part of this experience.

Teresa Butler
"I just felt at peace and just so relaxed." Photo credit: The Hui

The smoke-free advocate said it was partly to safeguard herself from negative reactions from having a moko kauae, but also to educate and bring awareness to this special taonga.

On the day, close to 30 people filled her house and joined Teresa in her journey to wear the mark of her tupuna.

"I just felt at peace and just so relaxed. There was so much love in the room and a lot of the family that came in didn't really know each other so it bought whakapapa together. It was a real heartfelt."

Teresa hopes that sharing her journey may help normalise moko kauae in Canterbury and encourages more wahine to get it done.

The Hui