New Zealand is hoping to leave a lasting impression on those who attend IMEX Frankfurt, by offering live Māori tattooing, known as tā moko, at the show.
Respected tā moko artist Arekatera ‘Katz’ Maihi from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute will be on the 100% Pure New Zealand stand offering tā moko for those keen to experience the process.
In the tā moko process, no design ideas are shown in advance. The artist listens to the recipient’s kōrero (narrative) and brings the story to life through their knowledge of traditional Māori designs.
“Tā moko is a tāonga (treasure) to Māori people and culture,” said Maihi.
“Tā moko has to be about connection, otherwise it’s just a drawing. Connections can be between you, your whanau (family), your area, your environment or anything else specific to your life.”
After the tā moko is complete, Maihi will then explain the meaning of the tattoo to the guest.
“Part of tā moko is getting what you’re meant to receive,” he said.
“It can feel like a risk to entrust your story to someone else and then let them have access to your skin. It’s a leap of faith on both sides.”
Tourism New Zealand global manager business events Anna Fennessy said the experience is all about communication and trust.
“Having tā moko on the stand provides an opportunity for international visitors to engage with our culture and experience our ability to create and deliver something bespoke and amazing,” she said.
“It will provide a truly memorable way for New Zealand to make its mark.”
Visitors to the stand are also invited to participate in the Māori tradition of kōrero and kai (a chat and a snack) by meeting and eating together around a table. Tourism New Zealand will showcase its hand-carved “Kōrero and Kai” table, which has become a highly successful showcase of New Zealand’s warm welcome at recent trade shows.
Stand partners include New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland, Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre, Auckland Convention Bureau, representatives from Te Puia in Rotorua, and destination management experts ID New Zealand.
IMEX will take place in Frankfurt, Germany on 21-23 May 2019.