Maori Ta Moko (New Zealand)  LbNA # 37096

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateDec 7 2007
CountyOther International
LocationKarangahake, NI, New Zealand, INT
Found By 55 steps
Last Found Nov 20 2008
Hike Distance1 mi
Last EditedMay 14 2016

Location: The walk starts in the Karangahake Gorge carpark area. Karangahake Gorge is on State Highway 2 between Waihi and Paeroa.

Time estimate: ~30 minutes.

Terrain: Fairly wide path winds uphill and down, with several sets of stairs along the way.

Suggested ink color: black

We planted this box while we vacationed in New Zealand. One aspect of the country that interested us was the Maori culture, so I created several boxes on this theme.

Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. It is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface. Usually Ta Moko was chiseled into the skin using an albatross bone. The pigmentations used were Carui gum and dye from other vegetation that was rendered to a soot and then mixed with oil. Each tribal area used different pigments.

In Māori culture, many if not most high-ranking persons received moko, and those who went without them were seen as persons of lower social status. The receiving of moko constituted an important marker between childhood and adulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals. Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice in traditional times was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex. Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks (called raperape) and thighs (called puhoro). Women usually wore moko on their lips (kauae) and chins. Other parts of the body known to have moko on it include the foreheads, buttocks, thighs, neck and backs of women, and backs, stomachs and calves of men.

Ta Moko was like a history of a person's achievements and represented their status in their tribe. It was like a resumé. It also served as a reminder to people about their responsibility in life. It was a huge honor for people to have Ta Moko.

To find an example of Ta Moko for your logbook, cross the swing bridge you can see from the parking lot. Pass through the Talisman Powerhouse and then cross another bridge. After crossing the second bridge, head right up toward the Windows Walk. At the first intersection, take a left and climb the stairs. When you reach the train tracks, chug along to the right until you see some stairs. Derail and descend, reading the informative signs along the way.

Continue along the downward path until you reach Cyanide. Leave the path to walk into the ruin, with the pit on your right and the wall on your left. When you reach the far end of the wall, reach over it to find the box in the corner, under a rock and leaf litter. The box is covered in camouflage tape to blend in with its surroundings.

Please check for other people coming both ways before retrieving and replacing so the Ta Moko remains safe from muggles.

After stamping in, you can complete the loop and the cross the bridges again to return to your vehicle, OR you can continue on the main path to find the Maori Flag.

To see many examples of Ta Moko, we highly recommend that you attend one of the cultural ceremonies in Rotorua. These events usually include a hangi meal and give examples of Maori songs, games and customs. (I had hoped to place this box in Rotorua, but the weather did not cooperate!)

I’d really appreciate a status update if you find the box, since we live VERY FAR away and won’t be able to check on it ourselves. Kia ora!