Ruapehu iwi Ngāti Rangi held its first traditional tattoo gathering since the early 1900s during a weekend in early September.

A group of 14 Ngāti Rangi uri (descendants) received facial moko to mark the signing of their Treaty of Waitangi settlement – Rukutia te Mana.

Ngāti Rangi lead negotiator Che Wilson led the wānanga, and said the Moko Ahurea was an important step in the tribe's journey to reclaiming the taonga of its ancestors.

"Our Moko Ahurea was an expression of reclamation where we revived and celebrated our way of being Ngāti Rangi. Thirteen wāhine received their moko kauae [chin moko] and one male their mataora [moko of the face], which shows me that there is an appetite to continue in this journey," he said.


The last time Ngāti Rangi held a Moko Ahurea was during World War I. It was also held at Raketapauma Marae, near Waiouru.

"We have now come to a time where we can celebrate this special taonga together as a tribe," Wilson said.

A series of Moko Ahurea are to be held across the Ngāti Rangi rohe over the next two years. Wilson said they would celebrate the iwi's culture and its beauty as a people.

"Tāmoko represents a proud statement of identity with whakapapa and the essence of being Ngāti Rangi. As an iwi, we are excited by the growth in cultural momentum we are witnessing all around us."