Moorea Tattoo

Moorea TattooThe work of traditional Tahitian tattoo artist James Samuela can now be admired online on an attractive new website Moorea Tattoo. James operates a studio on the main beach at the Moorea InterContinental Hotel, the only five-star resort in French Polynesia providing such a facility. In anywhere from five minutes to an hour, James can etch an authentic Polynesian tattoo on a willing body at a cost of US$80 and up, depending on the size and detail. As you'd expect at such an upscale venue, Samuela's hygienic standards are strict.

Tattooing is one of Polynesia's most enduring gifts to the world - surfing is another. The origins of Polynesian tattooing can be traced back 3,500 years to the time when the first canoes entered the Pacific from Taiwan or Southeast Asia. Contemporary Tahitian tattoos like those of James Samuela are strikingly similar to the curvilinear designs on ancient lapita pottery found at archaeological sites from New Britain to Samoa. The very word tattoo comes from the Tahitian tatau, and Captain James Cook and other explorers were greeted by brilliantly tattooed islanders.

Moorea Tattoo explains the symbolism of some traditional tattooes: a turtle for fertility, a dolphin for wisdom, a tiki for protection. Each symbol has its own specific meaning, and Samuela is careful to help each client select the design most compatible with their individual being. Albums and photos can be perused at the studio. James isn't the only member of the Samuela family with something to offer visitors. His American wife Laurel Samuela runs a Moorea-based travel agency, True Tahiti Vacations. One reader's comments: "True Tahiti booked our honeymoon last year. With her intimate knowledge of the islands and culture of French Polynesia, Laurel created a trip for us that was far beyond what we expected."

<< Home