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					September 11-17, 2008

PORIRUA FEATURE

5

year history of such cultural tattooing and Tim Cossens explores it’s historical and current setting.

LOCAL NEWS
PLIMMERTON CROQUET
Plimmerton Croquet Club veteran Dorothy Shea officially opens the club’s croquet season by shooting the first hoop, flanked by club president Tony Walls. Mrs Shea joined the Plimmerton Croquet Club 22 years ago when the club was women-only. Today, the club has a membership from Tawa to Pukerua Bay. The club is expanding its programme this season with regular slots on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon for golf croquet, the newer version of the game, equivalent to cricket’s 20/20. Traditional association croquet will continue mornings and afternoons of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, commencing each day at 9.30am and 1pm. Golf croquet has a simpler set of rules than association croquet and takes less time to complete. Come to Plimmerton Croquet Club’s open day, Sunday Sept 14 from 11am, Plimmerton Dr off Ulric St. Flat soled shoes will be available. For more information phone president Tony Walls, 2331920, coaching convenor Diane Christie 2331518 or publicity officer Ken Rae on 2339614.

Falenaoti Mokalagi Tamapeau during the process.

Community in full support
Family members stay with Falenaoti Mokalagi Tamapeau to support her. The process was followed photographically by Emma Kotsapas, who supplied these photos to Citylife.

Tim Cossens
editorial@citylifenews.co.nz

ummer in our sights means skin soaking up the rays and tattoos adorning bronzed bodies popping out of your swimmers. For some of those sporting tattoos their markings are a symbol of cultural heritage and family, none more so than traditional Samoan tattoos. One who has recently taken this step of being marked with the female tattoo or Malu is Falenaoti Mokalagi Tamapeau, who is national pacific services development manager for Plunket. Ms Tamapeau was recently given the Malu by local Samoan tattooist Su’a Vitale, and describes what went into the history and design of her Malu. “You’re a patient and in an operation. He has to match you with who you are as a person and culturally as a woman, and honour your family and all your other connections

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and responsibility. “So he’s got to be able to channel what those might mean and then reflect me as a woman in terms of how I took the pain.” The pain during the tattooing can be extreme, with it taking place

Healthy advice
The Ministry of Health says, when getting a Tattoo: It’s your body, it’s your choice. Get information to help you make a wise choice. Check that your Tufuga/tattooist will keep you safe as well as make a good job of your tatau. See and talk to your family doctor first, especially if you are getting an extensive tatau. Discuss health conditions (e.g. diabetes) or worries that could affect your ability to recover from the tatau. Signs to watch out for are increasing redness, soreness, swelling, the presence of pus, fever (feeling very hot or cold, diarrhoea or boils).

in the home and having someone there to share the pain is customary. “I was lucky I had support from my whole family both present in the house and from overseas. “It’s hard to describe the pain. It was like having someone dragging broken glass through your skin at points in it.” When asked if she had reservations about Mr Vitale tattooing her after two men contracted a flesh eating bacteria following work done by him in 2006, she said she did not. “For someone who’s been operating as a Tufuga longer than I have been alive, two is not bad in that space of time.” “It is a whole wider process than what gets reported.” Mr Vitale’s standing within the Samoan community had not been affected by the incident and he was still a highly respected member of the community Ms Tamapeau said.

Having endured the process she was very proud of Mr Vitale’s work and what it represented for her and her family, and now felt ‘very well dressed’ in her new tattoos.

Skin Deep
“Traditional Samoan tattooing/tatau signifies the bestowing of chiefly titles and is a rite of passage. It enables people also to have a voice at a titled level in village and family discussions. A Tufuga or Tattoist uses a tool called an ‘au’, which is made out of a boar tusk, and is done over a period of days and carries with it a certain amount of pain. Two family groups, Su’a or Tulouena, are historically the only ones in Samoa that hold the mantle of Tufuga allowing them to tatau using the traditional “au”, according to Tafa Pa’u Mulitalo, of Massey University.

Photo: Supplied

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