Maori Tattoo Designs For Men

Top 93 Maori Tattoo Ideas [2020 Inspiration Guide]

Tā moko, aka the traditional body art of the indigenous people of New Zealand. The taonga, or treasure, holds a special meaning for each individual bearing ink.

Originally, the Moko gave insight to a man’s tribal affiliation and social ranking.

Every shape, pattern and symbol told a story of his unique background and offered an insightful connection to his integrity and whakapapa. However, what you see today isn’t always a precise representation of the past.

Around the 20th century (or 1990 to be more specific), Ta moko experienced a rival in popularity and many styles began to mix traditional bases with more modern touches. As for the meaning behind this ink style, it also shifted to become more of an expression of integrity and cultural pride.

Not to mention, outside of the tribal culture it’s quite difficult to spot a true facial moko. While intimidating to some, the head was considered to be the most scared part of the body. Just like in today’s society, it’s a permanent, undeniable declaration of a man that can’t be concealed.

Of course, there’s always the difference between the process of using uhi (chisels) and the modern tattoo machines of today.

Regardless, go ahead and explore these top 90 best Maori tattoo designs for men below. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by in the integrity of this ink style and discover numerous ideas of your own.

Maori Tattoo Ideas

Ankle And Foot Maori Tattoos For Guys

This is a beautiful foot and ankle tattoo featuring the hallmarks of classic Maori design in its use of clear, crisp black lines and differing directional patterns.

Back And Shoulders Guys Maori Tattoo Inspiration

A beautifully connected piece, with the turtle being the centrepiece of the back image and both arms. The turtle symbolizes health, longevity and for some people fertility.

Back Of Leg Maori Themed Tattoos For Guys

This classic tribal design features black flowing lines and clever patterned bands.

Back Of Leg Turtle Maori Culture Art Tattoo On Gentleman

Another fine version of the turtle, this one is slightly different in that the animal is at the top of the tattoo at the calf, and all the different patterns flow down from it towards the foot and heel.

Back Of Shoulder Large Maori Tribal Tattoo For Guys

The key to this piece is the beautifully sharp black line work that emphasis the edging of shapes and creates a nice sense of depth in detail.

Back Of Shoulder Maori New Zealand Culture Tattoo On Man

This tattoo uses a slightly fatter kind of line work to create its patterns. It flows together more loosely than those confined within tighter shapes.

Back Of Shoulder Maori Tattoos On Guy

The image here shows new work being put into a Maori tattoo. This moko is eventually going to have numerous key features, such as the turtle you see outlined on the shoulder, linked together by the customary range of patterns and shapes drawn in a heavy, flat black ink. The time being put into this work will make for a beautifully realized vision when completed.

Bicep Mens Maori Tattoo Design In Black Ink

This is a nice, crisp Maori style biceps tattoo, which should lead to a bigger interconnected work down the track. You’ll find the connected hatches and almost full diamond linked patterns in a lot of Polynesian tattoos. This piece uses negative space in combination with black ink to create emphasis on the different patterns.

Blue And Black Ink Maori Full Sleeve Guys Tattoos

This is the rare Maori style tattoo that uses color. The usual black is in there, but there is a layer of blue wending its way through the image through that is quite unique – it’s rather jarring to see to be honest.

Blue Ink Maori Male Tattoo On Arm

The ocean blue color in this tattoo is eye catching, working well with the design elements to make this smaller Maori tattoo highly detailed.

Cool Angry Maori Design Tattoo Half Sleeve For Guys

The half sleeve of this image has the black face of a god (or a Mexican wrestler) as its central point, then uses a variety of tight line drawing to create the rest of the Moko pattern.

Cool Full Maori Sleeve Male Tattoos

This is a hectic full sleeve. The patterning and detail that’s gone in to the piece would have taken an exceptionally long time to execute, but it’s done with consummate skill. This piece is unique, in that it mixes up different elements – a central image, flat back filler, shading, and negative space – together to make the sleeve in full.

Cool Maori Shoulder Half Sleeve Guys Tattoos

.An aged traditional tribal tattoo is being updated in this image. It’s clear the original tattoo has aged poorly – either from bad ink quality, a difficult heal, shabby artist, or all three combined. The new piece will refresh and replace the rest of the tattoo, giving it a uniform flat black application of ink.

Cool Maori Tattoo Design Ideas For Men Half Sleeve With Red And Black Ink

This is classy work. The artist has applied a stylised fern and employed a couple of different colors to ink in a beautiful sleeve tattoo. The detail in the red sections shows off a mastery of moko; it can be hard to use the fill color effectively while putting similar technique into the line work doing when pieces of this kind.

Cool Maori Tatto On Man Half Sleeve Design

Wow. To get such a degree of detail into every pattern of the work takes a bad level of skill. This half sleeve moko looks almost like filigreed steelwork, given the level of shading and color employed. This piece could have realistically taken double the time that a simpler flat black version of the same pattern would have needed for the entire sleeve. Magic skill!

Cool Masculine Maori Blackwork Tattoo Sleeve Design

Another piece of Maori traditional work acting as a cover up and stand-alone piece. Here, you can tell by the roughness of some black spots that it’s covering older tattoos. It will likely need going over again at least once more to flatten out the black detail.

Creative Maori Polynesian Tribal Tattoo

This piece is small, yet crisply drawn with beautiful shading and pattern levels. It’s a lovely moko to look at.

Creative Tribal Maori Guys Tattoos Half Sleeve Design

The face in the top of this half sleeve is interesting – the symmetry of its shape makes for quit an arresting image. Another point to not is that the black fill is somewhat unusual in places, looking like a pattern was started in an area then abandoned.

Full Back Maori Male Tattoos

This is a beautiful exploration of using flat black and negative space to create an amazing traditional tribal image. The key to the work is incorporating the numerous parts that have not been tattooed to create interesting shapes and patterns, then linking them with the forceful jet black of the inked patterns. The piece even incorporates an old tramp stamp tattoo into the new artwork. Brilliant stuff.

Full Body Maori Tattoo Design For Guys

This is the traditional Maori tattoo version of a hectic steampunk bio-mechanical tattoo. The amount of detail to create those vertical patterns down this big unit’s spine is awe inspiring, while the flow of black line work going across his back is top drawer. You won’t come across a better designed and executed artwork on canvas or on skin.

Full Sleeve Guys Maori Art Tattoo

The sinuous line work of heavy black piping makes this a nice full sleeve Maori tattoo. While aided by the filtering of this image, the artist has obviously created a very heavy black pattern throughout the piece – it’s almost visibly jagged and angry.

Full Sleeve Guys Maori Tribal Tattoo

A bad ass three quarter sleeve Maori tattoo. The god at the top of this piece looks like he’d be up for a few beers and some surfing but would absolutely wreck you during a game of rugby and laugh about it while you picked your loose teeth up off the ground.

Full Sleeve Maori Tattoos For Guys

The lower part of this half sleeve shows off some beautiful black and gray shading, while at the top of the piece it’s a more traditional flat black pattern.

Full Sleeve Tribal Maori Polyesian Tattoos

This is a good example of a Maori style Kirituhi. The shapes, patterns and ‘mana’ differ from the moko style but are still awesome.

Gentleman With Full Maori Themed Tattoo Sleeve

The upper arm part of this Maori tattoo looks to be new. The older piece towards the bottom looks to have been retraced and will match up with the artwork on his right arm.

Gentleman With Maori Full Sleeve Tattoos

Another added on moko style tattoo. Again, like the last piece the new part has come at the top of the arm. In this artwork it’s a much different style to the bottom half of the tattoo. It’s safe to say, judging from how this piece is being developed that the artist doing the new work on the topmost part of the sleeve is the superior talent.

Gentleman With Maori Half Sleeve Tattoo

This piece will be epic when finished. Given the amount of detail in just the small part of tattoo completed this man will be in the chair for quite some time. The artist creating a beautiful polished steel look to the shading rather than a simple flat black pattern.

Guys Maori Half Sleeve Design Tattoo

Curve meets band meets kine meets band meets curve. Throw in some excellent differing patterns within other patterns and you have a beautifully executed Maori tattoo.

Guys Maori Half Sleeve New Zeland Tattoo

It looks like this turtle moko is getting upgraded!

Guy With Upper Arm Tattoo Of Maori Tribal Ink

Half Leg Sleeve Maori Inspired Male Tattoos

The patterning of this piece – especially the application of short, sharp lines to create continuity in this image is beautifully done.

Half Sleeve Maori Culture Guys Tattoos

Half Sleeve Maori Culture Inspired Male Tattoo Design

Must be cold in this studio – old boy has got the goosebumps! This is a slightly different Maori tattoo in that it uses more subtlety in the shading with clear gray ink as a mainstay of the artwork. Most of these types of tattoos just engage a slightly lesser black when shading is employed.

Half Sleeve Maori Guys Tattoo Design Idea Inspiration

This looks like it’s going to be a pretty difficult regeneration job. The previous work is still heavy, and there’s lots of detail in the piece.

Half Sleeve Maori Male Tattoo Design Ideas With Black Ink

After looking at quite a few of these Maori tattoos you can pick up when one employs an interesting pattern varying from the standard patterns. Here, the diamond heads (they like the nib of a calligraphy pen) and triangular hatches are done in a way just different enough to be noticeable.

Half Sleeve Maori Tattoos For Guys With Black Ink

This subject wouldn’t have enjoyed the pain thresholds needed for this three-quarter sleeve. That’s a lot of time spent being uncomfortable and at the mercy of an artist dropping heavy black ink on you for numerous hours.

Half Sleeve Mens Maori Tattoo Design Ideas

This is a bad ass take on the Maori tattoo. Rather than use flat black, this piece pretty much ignores color to focus on line work in creating the patterns throughout. The traditional pattern elements are there, but the lines themselves are the focus rather than shapes to be filled in with black and shadow.

Half Sleeve Outline Linework Maori Tattoo On Male

Incredible 3d Maori Male Tattoo Full Sleeve

This is another perfectly executed full sleeve tattoo. It seems the very best work can effortlessly create two or three layers of color in the shading and pattern work, making the detail levels of the piece go right off the charts.

Incredible Half Sleeve Tattoo Of Maori Tribal Work On Man

Is the Maori god in this image wearing goggles?

Large Maori Sleeve And Chest Guys Tattoos

This unfinished Maori tattoo looks good, but the negative space seems to be an avoidance of the area rather than a part of the tattoo. It would be interesting to see if this gap is filled by focal point image or continues to be left blank.

Lower Leg Linework Maori Male Tattoos

This is an effective lower leg tattoo. The line work counteracts the flat black to create an interesting artwork.

Lower Leg Maori Half Sleeve Tattoos On Gentleman

This is a rare Maori design utilizing a flower as it’s focal point. In this tattoo, the use of different gray shades and the illusion of leather/wicker makes for quality patterning.

Lower Leg Maori Mens Black Ink Tattoo

Lower Legs Maori Tattoos For Guys

Male With Back Of Leg Maori Tattoo

Okay, so this is a cool take on a Maori tattoo. The primary image is of a turtle, however there are different elements of color and shading employed. There even seems to be the visage of a female god in there’ given there are clearly a pair of feminine lips in the image.

Mal With Maori Shark Tribal Tattoo On Leg

This is a beautiful tattoo. The line work is crisp and fresh. It uses a series of narrow black lines drawn with a single needle to create beautiful patterns. This beauty is heightened by the shark motifs employed using negative space within their shaping.

Manly Maori Pattern Tribal Mens Half Sleeve Tattoo Design Inspiration

Man With Half Sleeve Of Maori Tattoo Design

Rather than opt for a cover up this piece builds on the original tattoo with sharp linework. Hopefully once the healing is complete the full piece will blend in together.

Man With Maori Sleeve And Shoulder Tattoo

The pattern in this piece is created through effective use of negative space to alleviate the total black in the rest of his work.

Man With Maori Tattoos On Back Of Legs

Man With Maori Tattoos On Upper Leg Thighs

Man With Maori Tribal Tattoo Full Sleeve

Man With Tangata Whenua Maori Half Sleeve And Chest Tattoos

Maori Art Half Sleeve Guys Tattoos

Maori Hand Tattoo Design On Mans Back Of Leg Calf

Maori Ink Tatoo Full Sleeve For Guys

Maori Moko Full Sleeve Male Tattoos

Maori Tattoo Sleeves For Men

Maori Tribal Polynesian Male Tattoos

Maori Tribal Tattoo With Skull And Rose Flower For Men

Maori Tribe Male Tattoo Design

Maori Tribe Tattoo On Mans Lower Leg Half Sleeve

Masculine Tribal Maori Black Ink Mens Tattoos

Native Maori Tattoo Designs For Men Full Sleeve

New Zealand Culture Maori Half Sleeve Tattoos For Guys

New Zealand Maori Mens Upper Arm Tattoo

Outline Maori Male Tattoos Sleeve

Pattern Maori Male Full Arm Sleeve Tattoo Design Inspiration

Pattern Tribal Maori Guys Tattoos On Upper Arm

Polynesian Maori Mens Shoulder Tattoo

Remarkable Maori Inner Forearm Tattoo On Gentleman

Rib Cage Side Maori Tattoo On Man

Shoulder And Upper Arm New Zeland Culture Maori Male Tattoos

Shoulder Maori Culture Art Tattoos For Men

Shoulder Maori Polynesian Art Tattoo On Men

Shoulder Maori Tattoos For Guys

Simple Shoulder Maori Male Tattoos

Sun Maori Tribal Mens Shoulder Sleeve Tattoo

Tangata Whenua Maori Moko Mens Shoulder Tattoo

Tribal Maori Mens Tattoo On Arm

Upper Arm And Shoulder Maori Tattoo On Man

Upper Arm Maori Art Tattoos For Men

Upper Arm Maori Half Sleeve Male Tattoo

Upper Arm Shoulder Mens Maori Tribal Tattoo

Upper Back Negative Space Maori Male Tattoos

Upper Chest Maori Culture Tattoo On Male

Upper Chest Maori Tattoos For Men

Upper Shoulder And Arm Maori Tattoo On Gentleman

Wrist And Forearm Maori Male Tattoos

Wrist Maori Male Tattoos

Maori Tattoo FAQs

How did Maori tattooing begin?

Tattooing is common throughout the islands that make up Polynesia. However, each group of islands and peoples have their own customs, styles and traditional approaches to tattoo. The Maori tattoo technique, which is almost a cutting and scarring style of deeper grooved tattoo, is unique.

Maori tattoo – loosely described as moko – can be traced back mythological origin stories and have been passed on to the Maori from their Gods, who taught them the various types of tattoo and their significance.

English explorer Captain James Cook brought the word tattoo, which comes from the Samoan tatau, into Western culture by writing of them in his missives to the Queen, while his sailors brought back actual tattoos on the skin of their chests, arms and hands.

What is the significance of Ta Moko?

Ta moko is a central facet of Maori culture and an outward visual expression of commitment, respect, and honor. It is the traditional permanent marking of the body and face by Maori with chisel and sharp implement to leave the skin with textured, colored grooves rather than the smooth surface of a normal tattoo.

A facial Ta moko is the ultimate statement of identity in Maori culture, because the head is believed to be the most sacred part of the body. Through wearing the moko on your face you make a visually recognizable declaration of who you are and a constant reminder to the significance of Maori culture on your own identity.

Non-Maori are not allowed to get Ta moko. However, Kirituhi is a Maori style tattoo either made by non-Maori tattooists or made for non-Maori subjects. Kirituhi has its own spirit (mana) and tells the story of its bearer in the Maori visual language.

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