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Tattoo of Whanaungatanga

Family unity

by GiErre »
2013, Jan 27th
HI-RES [jpg]


Centrally on the shoulder we placed a turtle, to symbolize the importance of family for Michael, who requested this tattoo. The front fins of the turtle are tikis to protect his family from all sides. The lower element on the shell of the turtle represents him, with his wife nearby. He supports his wife and together they support their three children just above. Their union gives stability to the family (the mountains on the sides) and joy (the sun above the five of them, incorporating a flax plant with five leaves which is yet another way to represent family). The two chasing birds closing the upper part of the shell and making the head of the turtle symbolize that help will always be granted to the dear ones.

Back flippers are formad by a sea shell (safe shelter, love) and by a fish hook (prosperity).

Next to the turtle, on top, a lizard is guarding the family ensuring good luck and health.

The path of Kamehameha represents a hard trail that leads to success: it starts in the past (where moray eels represent adversities and difficulties, guarded by a tiki eye) and leads to the future where it gets overcome by family towards success and joy (the outer sun made of shark teeth: adaptability and strength).

Below the path, a Maori styled stripe includes the hammerhead shark motif (determination and tenacity) needed to walk this trail, incorporating a stylized honey bee.

Just below, a row of enata represents the people that followed this path with him. Two of them have black areas to remind him that we´re all different and special in our own way, and that we should learn accepting all people without being too judgemental.

The crossing braid represents family and unity and it symbolizes that all the things in our life, the good and the bad, can be lived, enjoyed and overcome with a united family and without giving up (the spear heads represent the warrior, strength and courage).

The manta symbolizes freedom, adventure and voyages and the tiki hands on it are for protection on travels, while the Marquesan cross is for balance and harmony, which can be reached thanks to adaptability too.

A curiosity:  whanaungatanga is a term related but not limited to family alone; it indicates the deeper sense of belonging that originates between people from shared experiences lived together.


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FREE printable PDF cards of the symbols
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