Pākehā woman has caused a total uproar online for getting herself a Tā moko

News 22/05/2018

A Pākehā woman is facing backlash from Māori due to her sporting a traditional Tā moko.

Sally Anderson, the owner of life coaching agency Evolved Leadership, had the facial tattoo done several years ago by Auckland artist Inia Taylor, Stuff reports.

Her husband Roger Te Tai is Māori and has a full facial tattoo.

She believes the tattoo represents her turning a corner in her life after being gang raped by Mongrel Mob members as a teen.

On her website, Ms Anderson said the moko kauae (female chin tattoo) represents the work she carries out in her life-coaching business.

"Denoted by the simplicity of the design, Sally's moko kauae explains the transformative work that Sally does," the website said.

"She makes the complex journey of transformation simple, leveraged off the back of her unique life apprenticeship."

Photo credit: Facebook

Artist Ngahina Hohaia, who also has a moko, strongly criticised the tattoo and its artist Mr Taylor in a Facebook post.

"Pākehā women - moko kauae isn't yours to have. Māori men - moko kauae isn't yours to give away," she wrote.

Mr Taylor replied to say he initially had misgivings about the moko when he received Ms Anderson's request, but felt he could not deny her simply because she was white.

"I had strong reservations but after many calls and discussions I realised that the only reason to deny her would be that of race. At the time I wasn't prepared to be racist," he wrote.

He also said it was disappointing to see the way Ms Anderson had spoken about the tattoo since getting it and he contacted her about it, but he could not control how she behaved.

Ms Anderson has now removed some of the branding from her website amidst the controversy, though pictures of her with the moko remain.