Despite the excruciating pain of not only being inked but having deep grooves cut into their faces, so deep sometimes that the bone chisel went completely through the cheek, the Maori took great pride in not uttering a single sound while receiving Ta Moko.
Music and poetry would be performed for the benefit of the warrior receiving his tattoos in order to help him bear the pain. Leaves of the Karaka tree were applied to the open wounds after the artist completed his work in order to help them heal.
War was a common way of life for the Maori, and having the proper time for new Ta Moko to heal was a rare luxury. Many times, the call to battle would force warriors to go off and join the fray with their scars still fresh as they put their bodies at risk for much more pain and suffering. The Maori's tolerance for extreme physical discomfort and their ability to shrug off pain, not to mention their fearsome appearance helped them gain a reputation as a truly intimidating fighting force.