Cook Islands Holds First Tattoo Competition

Tino Tatau 2016 showcased 'pride of the Pacific'

By Kimberly Samuels

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Nov. 22, 2016) – What is believed to have been the first tattoo competition held in the Cook Islands took place at The Islander on Saturday night.

Tino Tatau 2016 was an occasion to showcase the tatau - pride of the Pacific, as 45 beautiful bodies covered in equally beautiful tattoo ink lined up to strut the catwalk.

Master carver Mike Tavioni, New Zealand-born Tetini Pekepo, Stormy of Keraha Ltd, and British tattooist Croc Coulter all lent their expertise to judge the competition.

Mike Tavioni has tattooed over 2,000 clients since the 1990s, and is acknowledged throughout the South Pacific for his role within the art community. Tetini Pekepo was brought up in New Zealand before leaving the Hawkes Bay in 1987 to pursue a new life in Rarotonga. His niece, Stormy, was his apprentice for nine months before graduating from Te Wananga o Aotearoa with a Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts majoring in whakairo and opening her own tattoo studio on the island. Croc Coulter is well known for never having held a tattoo “machine gun”, and only doing ta tatau.

Contestants were scored on the quality of their tattoo work, its appearance, and how well it had been placed to suit their bodies.

The event, hosted by MC Janette Browne, attracted great turnout from locals and residents wishing to compete.

Competitors could choose from six categories: Best Leg, Best Chest, Best Back, Best Sleeve, Best Coloured, and Best Full Body. “Tatau Me” (People’s Choice) was selected by the crowd based on attitude and personality; and overall Tane Tino Tatau and overall Vaine Tino Tatau were selected by the judges.

Winners were presented with sponsored prizes, with the Tatau Me winner taking home a sponsored handmade trophy.

Kali Maclean-McMahon took home the prizes for Best Sleeve and Overall Vaine/Female Tino Tatau 2016, and Taiaha Hawke best Full Body, Tatau Me, and Overall Tane/Male Tino Tatau 2016. 

Cook Islands News
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