Tattoo Traditions of Polynesia
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Tattoo News - September 2004


I'm often asked for links to websites with the meanings of Polynesian tattoos. Every Polynesian culture was different, and motif meanings were sometimes different from one island to the next within a given culture. A good library (a museum or university library) will serve you better as a resource than the web, but there are a few good websites out there. On Marquesan tattoo see You'll need German to English, Marquesan to French and French to English dictionaries to interpret this, but it's good accurate info from Karl von den Steinen in 1896. Take a look & you'll see why I can't give nice clear cut answers to all of you that write looking for nice simple sources on meaning. If you are serious, do go visit a good ibrary,
or check or and look for these books. Most on this list are in print and should not be too dificult to find. See Myriah's Polynesian Boutique also has a few of these books for sale. Go to:


A good article from the Honolulu Star Bulletin focusing on tattooed surfers is at Also see for an overview of Maori and Hawaiian tattoo.


As you might know I returned in early August from the Festival of Pacific Arts on Koror, Palau. To learn more about Palau and see some great images, go to A brief review of the festival by Caroline Yacoe is at A
good in depth look at the events from members of the Papua New Guniea delegation is at and

Since plenty of others have written on the festival itself, I'll write on one of our favorite topics on the Palau trip-- the possibility of getting swallowed by
a giant grouper. It CAN happen! See
OK, What's even stranger than the fact that giant groupers have been known to swallow people? Welllll, they can change sexes. Then change back! See for far more than you ever wanted to know about groupers. According to this, giant means up to 12 feet! Yipes! Yes, the biblical Jonah's whale was probably a grouper. See but enought fish tales! No, now I'm on a roll. Want to see a really funny looking BIG fish? This one dwarves the grouper! See or and These guys get up to 3000 pounds! I nearly got a tattoo of one of these once to commemorate a trip to the Marquesas. I may still... Jacqueline Koss, I'm READY!


There is a Filipino Cultural Festival that is including tattoos Sept 11th & 12th at Point Fermin Park, in San Pedro, 10:00 to 6 pm. For more on Filipino tattoos, see and

The San Diego Pacific Islander Festival is Sept 25th & 26th at Ski Beach. Look for the Tattoo Traditions banner in the educational area & come say hi.

Check out Unimax's new ready-made needles. The price is
unbelievable and the quality is great! I tried the 7 liners and they are the best I've used for big black areas.


Sept 10 - 22: LA area-- Island Legends
Sept 24 - Oct 3rd: Oceanside, San Diego-- Momilani's Island Traditions
Oct 8- 17: San Francisco area-- private studio
Oct 20: home

If you are interested in an appointment during this upcoming trip, please call my CA voice mail/pager: (510) 802-2155. The deadline is past and the schedule is nearly full, but I do have a couple of openings, and I always keep a wait list in case of cancellations. Feel free to stop by either of the S. CA locations (exact addresses are on my website-- anytime during store hours.


Copyright © 1999 - 2010 Tricia Allen