Extension has been taking closer looks at tattoos and symbolism. Specifically polynesian tattoos. We researched about it and even created our own designs but we had never really seen the real thing. Although a bunch of us had already seen a pe'a before due to someone in their family having one. Anyway, Mr Tele'a was invited to come to one of our extension sessions to show us his traditional samoan tattoo. Whether we had already seen one or not, it was still a really good way to expand our knowledge.
He came to give us a personal view on what's it like to get a pe'a (samoan tattoo). Not only that but to give us a closer look at the intricate designs.
Mr Tele'a was a really good model and teacher. We all prepared questions to ask him and he answered them with great detail. The questions varied from: 'What did your parents think when you wanted to get a tatau?' to 'What did you do to get your mind off the pain?' and many others. He explained and showed us what parts were meaningful to him and the reasons behind them.
For example, there was a 20-30 cm wide black strip that started underneath his armpit and wrapped itself around his back to the other side of his body under the opposite armpit. To an uninformed person, it would look like a patch of green on his backside but it actually held a big amount of meaning. This part of the full pe'a is supposed to be a canoe or va'a. The va'a represents the family who the wearer of the tattoo has to always protect. (Click image underneath for an actual look)
Because the extension group have been looking at tattoos and symbolism, we were given mini project that we had to complete. This task was to create our very OWN tattoo. There were two crucial things we had to include in our tattoos. One was to use or make a symbol of any part of our culture or heritage and the other was to create a symbol to represent yourself. Currently, I have nearly finished my work. I have already completed the cultural side of this project and am still working on my own symbol.