Moko Apprenticeships

July 4, 2017

Kia ora whanau,

Ive had a lot of people ask me to teach them Ta Moko.

I'm quite open to share what knowledge I've acquired with anyone who asks for it, especially if they are passionate about it and not just in it for a quick earn.

When I agree to teach someone, then I will do exactly that….but…Its on MY terms not theirs ( I’m a terrible person aye! )
If you can’t roll with that then its pretty much over before its started. I’ve got a full-on schedule so I can only commit my time to teach as it becomes available.

Don’t be surprised if the whole Moko/Tattoo learning process seems too long, or boring.

It’s taken me over 20 years to learn this craft, and I still have much to learn, and goals to reach.

If after a couple of visits to the studio, and a handful of discussions with me, you decide you have enough “know-how" to go out and buy a tattoo kit, to start working on live skin without my ok (unless it’s your own) ....then consider our tutor/teacher relationship over.

I’m pretty easy going I think, I don’t expect you to wax-on, wax-off, paint-a-fence, clean toilets, wash my car, or make hot drinks etc or any of that carry-on, shit I'd probably end up making you more hot drinks than you make me..

I do expect you to listen and not be a know-it-all though.

If It seems like I take too long getting back to you with feedback about drawings etc, it’s probably because I never gave you a time frame…and I’m expecting more drawings, and expecting you to just come in and listen and ask question etc.

Don't get down if I don't thumbs up everything you do...I don't thumbs up my own shit a lot of the time.

I won’t babysit you and be on your case to come in, or draw, or ask questions, or vacuum, or clean etc. I expect you to learn by watching what goes on in the studio...if it needs doing, do it - unless you've been told not to.

So, whether I take a person on as an apprentice depends on THEM for the most part.

Don't be too impatient. I started my journey at 17, and I had been drawing on the daily for years before that.
The first tattoo studio I approached to teach me, told me unless I had $20k, to “F*%^ OFF!” There were others who weren’t interested in my drawing style/genre (Moko/Māori) back then so they were no-goes too.

I pretty much learnt form reading and researching, I had no access to Internet back in those days, so information came in dribs and drabs, and via talking to others. I worked on my own skin and continue to do so when I’m trying new inks/needles etc. In the later years of my Moko learning I was lucky enough to be mentored by Mark Kopua, a well-known Tohunga Moko - I only wish I could’ve crossed paths with him earlier. What I’m getting at is…it can be a long process, it’s just the way it goes.

If I don’t happen to take you on as an apprentice, don’t give up…I’m only one of many out there, and for the most part, it would be the scarcity of time that would deter me from taking any more people on.

Oh yeah, not that I’m looking for apprentices right now, but contacting me about apprenticeships via email/text/messenger with greetings like…Oi, Hey, Sup, Yooo etc…won’t do you any favours. I’m not expecting a full on whaikorero or anything, “kia ora” will do fine.


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