Known all over the world for their elaborate tattoos, the Maori are believed to have brought their inking skills with them from their origins in ancient Polynesia.
The Maori have their own legend of how their culture acquired the practice of tattoo art:
There once was a young warrior named Mataora. Mataora fell deeply in love with a young woman named Niwareka who was the princess of the underworld. Niwareka rose up to marry Mataora, but unfortunately, he was mean and mistreated her, so she was forced to return to the depths she came from.
Realizing the error of his ways, Mataora, driven by pain and guilt fled to the underworld in search of his bride. Upon his arrival, Niwareka's relatives greeted him and laughed at him, making fun of his disheveled appearance and smudged warrior face paint.
Mataora apologized to Niwareka's family, who accepted and he was allowed to return to the surface with his love. Before they left, Niwareka's father taught Mataora the art of ta moko, the Maori word for tattooing.