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Mālama 'āina tattoo photo
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Mālama 'āina

December 21st, 2023
  Author: GiErre

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The Hawaiian term Mālama means to care, protect, and preserve.

The notion and practice of Mālama is a fundamental pillar of Hawaiian culture.br /> Last week we had the honor to prepare the honu design for the volunteers' t-shirts of the project Mālama `Āina in Lahaina (Mālama `āina means "Preserving the land" and its resources).
It is inspired by Hawaiian petroglyphs, and it includes symbols from different Polynesian styles as the concept of preserving the land is shared throughout Polynesia equally.

Kumu is at the base as it symbolizes the base of the tree, which gives it stability, and it represents traditional culture as the base of society. The Maori pattern te ara poutama shows knowledge as the way to leadership (the tropic bird below the lokahi) for a sustainable way of living represented by unity between the worlds of people, nature, and spirits.

On the left, two pandanus garlands symbolize giving as the way to go in order to receive (the empty space in the middle forming a garland going in the opposite direction) and it was added to symbolize the concept of kuleana.
The woven leaves symbolize union and community.

On the right, there are shark teeth for the ocean, and mountains for the land, with the steps of the ancestors for guidance, and the koru in the middle symbolizes the new trees planted within the project.
The two tiki on the sides and the lizard represent protection from gods and spirits, and the hammerhead shark with spearheads represent the people fighting for the protection of the land.

The manta represents balance and freedom, and we placed pandanus leaves and people in it and on its side to symbolize that the freedom of individuals (the person in the manta) goes through the freedom of the whole community.
Fish and fish hook are symbols of prosperity.

The colored legenda below shows the individual elements within the tattoo:
Malama aina reforestation turtle tattoo

We also prepared a second version that has similar meanings and uses mainly Hawaiian elements:
Malama aina Hawaiian turtle tattoo

Compass turtle t-shirtCompass turtle t-shirtTurtle design by TattooTribes
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turtle aumakua hammerhead shark tiki manta lizard honu kumu spearheads shark teeth lokahi union protection family ocean land tenacity balance harmony

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