It is very much the same for their tattoo designs. The Maori tribal tattoos have their own unique identity compared to their Polynesian counterparts. Their spirals and curved shapes form a very intricate pattern that very distinctive to the Maori tribes. Legend said that a young warrior learned the art of the Maori tribal tattoos from the lord of the underworld, after winning back the heart of the lord's daughter.
For the Maori tribe, the tattoos are part of special rituals celebrating a particular or special event in one tribesman's life. A tribesman would receive his or her first tattoo as a rite of passage from childhood to adolescent and would be added whenever there are significant events in his or her life that would need to be celebrated. A tribesman that would be awarded with a tattoo would go into fasting before he or she was given a tattoo.
Both men and women of the tribe can be awarded with a tattoo as a show of courage, strength and would be given a specific status in the tribe. The tattoos for men in particular would cover the whole face while the women would only cover the cheeks and the lips, though sometimes the tattoos for women would cover the neck as well.