‘Polynesian Tattoos’ The Art of Ink (Season 2) Digital Exclusive | Paramount Network

‘Polynesian Tattoos’ The Art of Ink (Season 2) Digital Exclusive | Paramount Network

– [Si’i Liufau] We are able to
look at our tattoo and remind us that this is where we
came from, this is who we are and these are the stories
that define us as a people. – [Alipate Fetuli] This
was like a right of passage where you force this kid into
some crazy (beep) and then when he makes it out, it’s
like he’s ready for the world. – [Mike Fatutoa] Tattooing is
just one of those clever ways of making sure that traditions
are never forgotten. There’s so many deviations
of the same thing because they’re relaying
the same stories over and over, all the way
back to the first stories. (upbeat music) When I first got into tattooing,
I wasn’t really leaning to tattoo Polynesian artwork. I really didn’t
know much about it. It wasn’t till my family
started asking me for Polynesian tattoos and
I wanted to be able to understand the artwork
that I was giving to them. I ended up learning
more about my culture and it kind of led me into
becoming full into Tau tattooing traditional sao moon sao. – I was born in eastern Samoa,
but I grew up in Hawai’i. Pursuing Polynesian
tattooing, that was a comfort zone for me, because I was
familiar with the motifs, and I could grab a
hold of it because that was my first language. – I never sought out to be
a Polynesian tattoo artist. When I first got into
tattooing, I was doing gangster stuff on
the West Coast. It wasn’t until I had my
son, where I was like, man you know what? I’m going to try to
be a professional, and that’s when I hooked up
with my very first tattoo job. – [Si’i Liufau] Polynesian
tattooing is the artwork of the oceanic people,
the people of the pacific. – Polynesian tattooing is a
body of work of different styles from different places. Hawai’i, New Zealand,
Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia, parts of Fiji. – [Si’i Liufau] That’s a common
belief that the word tattoo in our english language did
come from the word tatau and came from the early
visits by Captain Cook and those voyages. Those were some of the
first people that recorded their experience with
Polynesian people, so, when they seen what we
were doing and it was called tatau, the word transformed
over time to tattoo. Tatau is the art of tattooing
that’s been practiced in Samoan culture for
thousands of years. The traditional Polynesian
tattoo starts from the midback and goes down to below the
knees and it’s very heavy. It’s very linear with a
lot of geometric shapes. All of our markings
are tied to the earth, they represent plant
life, animal life, oceans. We try to embody certain
characteristics of these animals into ourselves. Probably one of the
most widely seen shapes is the octopus tentacle. The octopus is a soft
body but it’s one of the smartest animals
in the ocean. It’s also one of the strongest
animals in the ocean. – We see a lot of sea
creatures in our tattoo works because that was the
environment of our ancestors. They were natural voyagers,
they went from each island and settled there, settled
here, that’s why you see so many ocean based motifs. – [Si’i Liufau] We have
two tools, the Sausau and the Au, one hand
I hold the Au and the other one with the Sausau. And we’re just striking
that into the skin. Our tools were made of woods
that we found on the island, and turtle shell for the
backing and boars tusks, which were filed and sharpened
to create a tattoo comb, that actually made the mark. Now, turtle shell is
illegal, so we replaced that with plexiglass or fiberglass. – The tufuga or tattooer,
both his hands are occupied so, the role of the
stretchers is to position the skin to where the
tattooer is trying to implement his designs. – The stretchers are called
coso au coso or au solo, these are the men or sometimes
women that help us out. Not only do they stretch
the skin and hold it so that the tools can puncture and
make their mark, but they also help soothe the person
that’s getting tattooed. – Being a coso is the beginning
of the learning process of understanding the
work that goes into it. – [Si’i Liufau] The ceremony
that we do at the finishing of a tatau is called the Sama. This is where we finish the
work and we bless the tattoo we rub the person that’s
recently tattooed with fenuual with coconut oil and
langah to help the body heal. – It’s a ceremony for the
men who had the courage to go all the way through. When we tattoo people we’re
not just doing the motions this is some ancient shit. There’s a lot of
emotion and energy that goes into what we do. – One of the beautiful
things about being over here is I get to work
with a bunch of guys that are really passionate
about what we do, and the true meaning
of our art form. Just to be able to share our
art of Polynesian tattooing and the knowledge
that keeps it sacred. Especially this far
away from the islands that created our style. – What Polynesian
tattooing means to me is a reconnection, to
all my ancestors and everybody behind me. Cause I’m not only
speaking for me, but I’m speaking for
a whole generation of kids that are like me, that
are getting Polynesian tattoos to reconnect. – The recent revival of
Polynesian tattooing has a lot to do with people trying to
find their cultural roots, their identity, when I put
these designs on people they’re taking a piece of me and my culture with them. Polynesian tattooing
have been around for thousands of years
and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.


  • Jaqen H'ghar says:

    2:07 Cook got the word 'Tattoo' from his voyages in Tahiti. Though the word actually originates from the Tongan 'Tātatau' and Sāmoan 'Tatau'.

  • Marigoldeyes says:

    Very interesting 😃

  • YNG DaddyM says:

    They forgot the micros ‘ oh yeah i forgot we’re last by all. Smh!😌👌🏽

  • jerome watts says:

    Is it disrespectful to polynesian people if a American or non polynesian gets one of these tattoos

  • YoungLG2K says:

    Again this takes skill and talent.
    Wish I could learn that art of tattooing

    And that one guy look like Troy Polamalou

  • Spawn_Of_Satan says:

    Would i be viewed as a douchebag if i would get this style of tatoo as white eastern european guy?

  • proFRESH says:

    Finally some polynesian tattoo videos!!!! Forgot to mention the COOK ISLANDS😜 Much aroa kia manuia

  • SPIRIT DOT says:

    Theyy all look like they need a bath. They look dirty.

  • Niranjoy Meitei says:

    i love tattoes ……

  • Painter josh says:

    One of my old friends has some really cool tribal from the islands mowa wolfie

  • Hata Pinsent says:


  • Sargent Ink says:

    I'm From Puerto Rico I know what represents ur own tattoo culture I got tattoo the represent my Indian tainos and I proud from I came from and I glad the I went to Hawaii beautiful people and island…TATTOOS 4 LIFE

  • W D says:

    Tattoo is originally from Fiji. In Fiji we dont use Tattoo as a form of fashion it is use for medication purpose when there is blood clot Fijian women back in the days will use Tattoo to drain the clot blood out this process is called in Fijian "SAMUQAWE" we never use it as symbols but it was after two Fijian Princess of a prominent chief on the northern side of Fiji who sailed to Samoa and got ship wrecked. Later they were saved by the villagers who took them to the Village Chief where a feast was prepared to welcome them, not only did he treated them with a great feast but the Chief gave them his Canoe (Drua in Fijian) for them to sail back to Fiji. In return of the chiefs kind gesture to them they gave the knowledge of Samuqawe or Tattoo to the Chief to acknowledge their hospitality towards them but instead of medication purpose the Chief of that village from Samoa use it as a symbol of chieftainship by his family. This knowledge was later taught through out all Samoa not only in the chiefly house whole but it later fall to the commoners as well which is what it has become of today

    Some of you may be wondering what were the two Fijian ladies were doing there in the first place, for your information, they were there to visit their fathers sister who was married into a chiefly family on a neighbouring village of where they were ship wrecked to. The visit was because she was sick and as usual back then pacific islanders would sail to islands for visit or trade it was through this visit hence the begining and introduction of Tattoo to the Samoans because there visit changed course when they got ship wrecked

    Hope this would help people know the real and hidden stories behind the lies they have been listening to for years

  • Tim Kruse says:

    Polynesian tattoo's should be kept with in their own people.. no one outside the culture should get it. I get it how other people love and embrace the culture and want to get Polynesian tattoo.. but I just think its should be only identified with Polynesians because it's sacred to us.

  • Island beast says:

    Proud to be Polynesian Malo you guys remember were a minority so we need to be strong love and support each other!!
    #TongaProud #Malo

  • Chuck Vandy says:

    If you do Polynesian tattoos with a gun you played yourself

  • ZNINZ says:

    maori and japanese tattoos are my favourite

  • TatuatoriIT says:

    Inspiring video! Ancient cultures are so magical.

  • L M says:

    Why is everybody so desperate to steal Polynesian sacred tattoo (except for Maori)? What wrong with your own race tattoo????

    Colonizer have frequently tried to stripped our culture and family apart these tattoo aren't just cool marking on our body it goes beyond that it the story of our life and our people. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

  • Gino Pineda says:

    What’s the different style between Polynesian people tribal tattoo and native highlander people (head hunter) tribal tattoos?

  • Islander Girl says:

    Where’s all my Pacific Islanders at😍‼️

  • Solomon Muniz says:

    What about Guam 🤦🏽‍♂️

  • craig dunn says:


  • craig dunn says:

    I love it

  • Ben J says:

    I think it's beautiful.

  • Adrien Piette says:

    Too cool.

  • Wrekking Crew says:

    Can anyone tell me if anyone is messing up these meaningful tattoos.


  • MrsMistahM says:

    Kanaka Maoli 🤙

  • Matthew Perez says:

    I must say that is one of the coolest traditions and you learn so much about the poly culture. I have alot of respect for the tattoos it's not just ink. And no I won't be getting one cause it's not my family tradition but it is so cool. All I'll got was cook books handed down in my family.

  • Vaj Eye-Nar says:

    Polynesians getting annoyed when white people get a Polynesian tattoo? Most non Polynesians have no meaning with their tattoo and it is for the looks. But I tell you what annoys me Polynesians getting the wrong f****ng tattoo. My cousin has the wrong tattoo (particular markings from a tribe hes not connected too), some one who should damn well know which tattoo to get. And hes not the only one.


    Since I was young I have always wanted to move to new Zealand I was so interested in there culture even though I was from Namibia….
    But my dream would one day come true and grow up learning the culture hope they welcome me

  • MrMomoitin says:

    thai tattoos look way cooler to me

  • Corazon Sutadisastra says:

    Nice i want

  • Yummy Soaia says:

    I’m Samoan and I believe in this day and Age if people wanna look cool like Polynesians and get POLYNESIAN TATTOOS then let em, It’s not like they getting them to be racist , They wanna be cool like they Big Samoan friends 😂😂😂😂

  • Slicker ThanYourAverage says:

    For us Polys, we can tell by the design on a guy or girl in public or when you’re at the mall and stuff which tatau is from which ever Island – Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Maori and so on.

  • Davis Sibetang says:

    Wheres the micronisians at………..palauans?!?!?!??!

  • s peezy says:

    Proud to be a suga❤❤ i will be going to take my dad home to see family in samoa
    and receive my malu im excited something ive wanted for so long its nearly here.

  • LifePathTwentyTwo says:

    I can't speak for any other Polynesian culture but for maori, we had no written language so we had no written history and so we wore our ancestry and life stories over our bodies. I see people who are not Polynesian wanting Polynesian tattoos all i'm saying is learn what you are getting tattooed on you the symbols and what they mean or the ghost of Maui will come for your boohole.

  • Jacob Ifopo says:

    Tattoos did not originate in fiji better do your homework

  • hellovanite says:

    Im sorry but tamoko should not be mixed with other polynesian tattoos. This kirituhi mixing is atua tapu

  • jerome_pongi says:


  • Smoove Gaming says:

    Dang king Afa shouldve been in this

  • Mateusz Cielas says:

    i mean, tribals look cool and damn chapeau bas that stayed on knuckles idk how long

  • ssandroAle gesBor says:

    yo I really want to make some of that. Nobody has that where I live

  • Dj Zetras says:

    I would love to know more about my culture. I'm half Polynesian and I barely know anything right now

  • John Jay says:

    That is the coolest!
    Carry on dudes. Us viking folk, we have the full sleeve like a totem. Every picture tells a story, just like you all. That's the way it should be.

  • Looney Ink says:

    I just fucking hate it when white people get it tattooed and don’t know what the fuck it means

  • Gangster Vegan says:

    This is beautiful

  • Tianna Akauola says:

    I don’t think blonge people can get tribal tattoos because they’re not from that tribal right?

  • Peace Peace says:

    I have my Mayan sleeve
    And I can’t understand why so many white kids get things that are not from their culture people get Hawaiian / Samoan / Polynesian tribal patterns.
    I’m curious how that makes you guys feel?
    I’d be insulted and want to slap someone getting my Mayan tribal tattoos on them.

    Love and respect to you guys.

  • mano ara says:


  • Myriam Gutierrez says:

    Anyone know where I can look to see what are all the symbols and meanings of the Polynesian tattoo

  • Sacred Wahine says:

    I love this

  • Dustin Mapuhi says:

    I want to n need to get a samoan tatau

  • Kono Dutch says:

    I wonder if Okinawans have Polynesian dna.

  • Will Calkins says:

    Man I wish I had polynesian ancestors because those tattoos are absolutely beautiful

  • T L says:

    Give me a thicc Samoan girl

  • Morgasm172 says:

    It’s cool but Nordic and Celtic wins hands down.

  • Tenjin Ikeda says:

    Beautiful! So dope!

  • Thomas Dena says:

    As a Mexican American. I'm always drawn to any natives who strive to keep traditions like this alive. Cheers brotha's & sister's 🤙

  • Meg Walker says:

    OMG such respect for this….. wowww👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  • KUI VITI says:

    We call it in Fiji…'Veiqia'…back in the old days…only Fijian women allowed to have 'veiqia' in Fiji,not men….we have a myth or a story abt it….Bula vinaka Pasifika!

  • B Whit says:

    My kaitiaki kaitiaki wairua (Guardian) is te pu o te wheke, or known as the eight legged octopus.

  • Dante Fox says:

    Looks fucking painful.

  • júba zahirov says:

    My beliefs don't allow me to have tattoos, but if i had to do one it would be that 👆

  • MnCAlapati415 says:

    Being Samoan, Tongan and Niue. I would love to get a tattoo the traditional Polynesian way. Not sure where to get it put on my body being that I am already covered in ink.

  • Muhammad Fauzi says:

    I really love polynesian / maori tattoo ! 😍

  • TEAM CHEVY says:

    I love and respect their coach 🤙🏽

  • Steven Daniels says:

    That’s been my wish for over 20 years to have a traditional style tattoo.

  • Tom Tom The Pipers Son says:

    He looks like Cesar Millan.

  • Gremlin Tatua says:

    The original word tattoo in Scottish is a military drum. Wen the drunken sailors coming back from the Polynesian they could not remember the word tatu. So just called it to the nearest thing they remember which was a Scottish military drum Calder tattoo..

  • Aaron Peniata says:

    Fuck captain cook

  • Santiago Rodriguez Guillen says:

    I respect a lot this art, I mea. This is the guys that paint a mouse and 10 years later change to a whale! I can't do that!

  • Melanie Ramos says:

    So beautiful

  • Keith Lestrange says:

    The datail is insane big love to the islanders…

  • Anmol22 Raj says:

    Great people's , love the art nd the history of Polynesian tattoo
    Respect 💝

  • Samantha Taala says:

    Aulelei ❤️

  • LaObeja Negra says:

    So AMAZING! The history…the Culture! 🖤 I love it!

  • Eva Ko says:

    Rich in art and culture !

  • nikon d3200 says:


  • nikon d3200 says:


  • Claudio Funes says:

    To any people that are of Polynesian/Pacific Island descent in the comments would you consider it rude if someone not of this descent got a Polynesian tattoo even if they understand the meaning and tradition behind it?

  • 3a3a3a says:

    Having this as a white dude to show you are “the one down with the minorities” is retarded and a waste of skin

  • Yung RiceFields says:


  • Terui Vaki says:

    Tu oublies la Polynésie française!!! Principalement les marquises è è è

  • LION OF JUDAH says:

    The word coso is wrong is called koso.

  • Alley Boy says:

    Respect to y’all culture.

  • Thomas Obez says:


  • Ofa Ma'u Valdez says:

    Tattoo from my people ain't no joke it holds a deeper meaning then the future would understand, but the message from our ancestors will always be in body with our soul and our tradition as the people of the Sea and the people of Polynesia

  • dark rain08 says:

    Does the poly tatts is for big guys only? Im prom philippines and i would like to ink it into my sleeve…tnx!

  • YepImFresh says:

    Polynesians invented tattooing. The word tatoo is literally from the word tatau

  • Bodyboarding Chronicles says:

    Ika La.Hui!

  • LK 88 says:

    What do you guys think of foreign people who want to have a polynesian Tattoo. I am from Germany vistiting Hawaii soon and i want to get in contact with the culture and you way of making Tattoos.

  • Tabi Hawley says:

    Polynesian art is so absolutely stunning! You can just FEEL the spirit of ancestry when you gaze upon the designs! So calming, and peaceful, and full of history. I am not Polynesian, but I think it would be so amazing to undergo that deeply cultural experience!! I am in awe.

  • Sasa Jugovic says:

    Awesome art form

  • Aaron Cornejo says:

    Much love to the Polynesian brothers!!!

  • bear madinger says:

    This video was deep. I just learned alot.

  • hellovanite says:

    Traditional Samoan tattoos dont have a Koru in it. The guys have appropriated it from ta moko into kirituhi

  • fatkidlarry says:

    I love the designs and the styles. All the different meanings that each design has. One day I dream of getting one, but I want to learn the meaning before going to try to get one. I’m not Polynesian so I want to learn the culture a bit because I would not want to disrespect any culture if I got one. So definitely want to one day go to New Zealand, Samoa, and just the Hawaiian island to find the people behind the Polynesian tattoos to get a real tattoo with meaning.

  • Paul Antonia says:

    Kia Orana use didn't mention all of the cook islands, Tahiti,Rapanui🤔 come on cuzzis🙄I think everyone should watch thecoconut Tv about this topic

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