What are the Polynesian symbols for family, strength, perseverance, health?

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understanding12 Asked: What are the Polynesian symbols for family strength perseverance health?

I’m looking for symbols for a tattoo. Google seems to hate me today. Please help

Karen Answered:

You should know that Polynesian tattoos cover a broad range of tattoo styles… some examples are Hawaiian tattoos and Maori tattoos, but there are others styles like Samoan, Marquesan and Tahitian as well.

Each island in Polynesia has its own style, and while there may be similarities between the imagery used, interpretations of the styles vary.

Be aware that these tattoos have very specific meanings. Thus, it is important that your tattoo artist is knowledgeable about the placement and meaning of designs.

To be on safe side, research the meanings of the many symbols used by yourself.

There is one great resource… it’s an online handbook you can get access

>> Meanings of Tribal Tattoo Designs – Online Dictionary <<


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Last but not least you also should also check this book The Polynesian Tattoo Today. This compilation of over 200 images presents some of the finest work being done both in the islands and abroad. In this book you will also find a special chapter where top tattooists are featured, presenting their personal histories and philosophical approaches to their work.


On Buzzle.com (Intelligent Life on The Web) following explanations have been found


If you are looking for a great resource about polynesian tatoos and their meaning, then this online handbook is a must!

There, you will learn also the meanings of not just the symbols that are being used but the meanings based on the location of the symbols on the body.

The dictionary permits you to:
– create your tattoo.
– know exactly what the designs/patterns you like mean.
– translate a sensation into designs/patterns …
– talk with the artist about your option for the production of your personalized tattoo.
For all that, don’t forget to make room for the outside look and sensation of an excellent tattooist specialized in Polynesian design!

As a subscriber, you additionally have access to additional functional pages:

– Just what is the meaning of the body?
… To choose the right spot for your tattoo.
– How to become more imaginative and motivated?
… To develop your” talisman-tattoo”.

Imagination, or the capability to develop just what you want in your life, everybody has it to various degrees: 7 steps to follow, to develop your innovation and manifest just what you want in your life, are clarified.

Additionally: getting to know the Maori universe, how to separate the designs of all Oceania, view dozens of drawings and pictures arranged by designs/patterns …
Hundreds of unique tattoo photos of international Tatau conventions in Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti …

polynesiantattoos3 What are the Polynesian symbols for family, strength, perseverance, health?
This collection is a “Must have” for anyone with an interest in body art. 296 pages Full-color or visit following resources.



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Please read some of the subscribers’ feedback

Roni : Thank you. I really appreciate everything I learned from your research and without Tahiti Tatou I would not have my tattoo. Again, thank you, Philippe, for everything and keep up the good work.

Laura (artist at The Polynesian Tattoo Factory, Hawaii): I got the membership and checked out the new tattoo dictionary on your website. Quite impressive! That’s a good resource, especially for people who are not very familiar with Polynesian style tattoos. It looks like you did a lot of in-depth research.

I am flattered to see that you used some of my tattoo photos as examples. When you get a chance, can you please also add me to you tattoo artist directory? I would greatly appreciate it. Mahalo.

Jared : The dictionary has been really informative to me. There is a lot of info in there I have not been able to find anywhere else on the net. Thanks again.

François : My wife and I are going to take a honeymoon trip to Polynesia. I would like to take the opportunity and get a tattoo…

Thanks again and well done on your site which gives useful info on Polynesian tattoo.

Aaron : I just joined your site and the online dictionary. Your site is great!

I was born in the States, but my mom was born and raised in West Oahu. I want to come up with a great design for that side of my family. It will be going on my arm. I live in Saint Louis, MO

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

Dominic : I appreciate the quick response, as well as your generosity. Great website.
Max : I took me a while before I decided to susbcribe, but finding no answers to my questions, I made up my mind and joined you. Thanks to your site I found the designs/patterns that fit me.

Jeremy : I just wanted to say thank you for your website. I had my poly ( Hawaiian style) tattoo done last night. Your website was of great help. It is by far the most informative site out there. I am already passing your website on to another person who wants to get a poly tattoo as well. Mahalo nui.

Richard : Great website, really enjoying my subscription’s access. Thanks again.
Mike : I’ve just subscribed to Tahiti Tatou for a period and have found reading about the Polynesian symbols fascinating.

Craig : This site is awesome!!! I’ve been trying to design a cover up for years. I think I finally have what I need. I read your section on how to develop your creativity and the ideas just started flowing. Looking at it in this light with the right tools was my missing link. Thank you and well done!

Ashiv : I just wanted to say your site is amazing with helping me with my tattoos.


>> Meanings of Tribal Tattoo Designs – Online Dictionary <<


Polynesian Tattoo Meanings

Apart from these Polynesian tattoo designs, there are many other traditional tattoo designs that have gained popularity in the modern world. The main reason for people to opt for these tattoo designs is that they are loaded with meanings. Let us take a look at some of them.


The Gecko is a type of lizard which were considered to have supernatural powers by the Polynesian people. The Gecko was feared by the people of Polynesia.


The ancient people of Polynesia considered sharks sacred as well as powerful animals. Hence, shark tattoos were considered to be a protective cover from an individual’s enemies. Apart from sharks, even shark’s teeth is a tattoo design that denotes protection.


In Polynesian culture, shells were used as currency, and so a tattoo made of shells denotes wealth.


Tiki tattoo designs come from tiki art which consist of carvings and statues of a human figure called ‘Tiki’. Tiki is believed to be the first human, and also a mythical ancestor of humans. The most prominent feature of Tiki is closed eyes, because he has a powerful sense of smell due to which he is able to sense any kind of problem before actually seeing it.


The turtle is also a popular Polynesian tattoo design. This is because it represents long life and fertility, something that every human being looks for.

Source: Buzzle.com

Mangopares or hammerhead sharks

The hammerhead shark is a symbol of the tenacity and strength needed to achieve the goal.



Last but not least, check this very interesting article which will give you a new perspective on this  matter. Ta Moko Maori Tattoo – When Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Insult



The function of tattooing in early Polynesian society

As there is no writing in the Polynesian society, the Polynesians applied this art complete of unique signs to convey their identification and also character. Tattoos will indicate condition in a hierarchy society: sexual maturity, genealogy and also one’s position within society. Almost every person in old Polynesian culture was tattooed.

The revival of Polynesian dropped craft: Shortly after the missionaries arrival (1797) the method was purely banned, as the Old Testimony forbids it. In current years, nonetheless, the art of tattooing has certainly appreciated a renaissance in the very early 1980’s.

Polynesians are once again taking pride and passion in their ethnic ancestry, finding their identity in the revival of several lost crafts. Tattooing with typical devices was prohibited in French Polynesia in 1986 by the Ministry of Health due to the difficulty in sterilizing the wood and bone hardware.

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4 responses to “What are the Polynesian symbols for family, strength, perseverance, health?”

  1. arne says:

    im looking where i can ind all the meanings of polynesian tattoo’s ?

  2. admin says:

    Arne, thanks for the question. If you look for a good source, then I would highly recommend this dictionary.
    There you will find the different meanings of polynesian symbols. However, you will need to invest some of your money – but it’s worth it.

    Please let me know if you need further help.

    Cheers El Hombre

  3. jo says:

    u cant get onto the dictionary because a pop up of chopper-tattoo.com keeps popping up and you cant get rid of it :/

  4. admin says:

    Hi Jo,

    Many thanks for informing us. We will check it and hopefully resolve the problem.

    Cheers El Hombre

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