Rawiri Barriball has become the first sailor to get clearance from the New Zealand Navy to wear a full facial Māori tattoo (Moko).
“I know there's a bad rap with people having moko. The more people that get it, the more it will be accepted,” said Barriball, who has served in the Navy for 20 years. “It's not something you should be scared of. I'm just like any other human being.”
Barriball had to apply under navy law to gain approval for the tattoo which took approximately 10 hours to complete, reports Newshub.
In pre-European Māori culture, many high-ranking people received moko as an important milestone between childhood and adulthood. In traditional times, it was seen to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex.
According to Wikipedia, men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks and thighs. Women usually wore moko on their lips and chins. Other parts of the body known to have moko include women's foreheads, buttocks, thighs, necks and backs and men's backs, stomachs, and calves.
In recent times, a resurgence in moko for both men and women has been seen as a sign of cultural identity and has been done using a tattoo machine rather than traditional chisels.