UNESCO bid for Polynesia tattooing decried

4:30 pm on 22 April 2019
Samoa tattoo

Samoa tattoo Photo: Supplied

There has been an outcry in French Polynesia over a reported bid by a French politician keen to inscribe Polynesian tattooing as part of the UNESCO world heritage.

The proposal was made by a left-wing member of the European Parliament, Younous Omarjee, who is from the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion.

The Patutiki Association, which promotes traditional tattooing of the Marquesas Islands, said it was impossible to amalgamate the tattooing practices of all Polynesian islands and cultures, which extend from Rapa Nui to Hawaii and New Zealand.

It said each island group had developed its own methods, designs and meaning.

It said the proposal, which was put to the French president, was akin to describing all types of dancing in the region as Polynesian or taking a practice specific to a European country and then labelling it European.

The Association said while it appreciated the thoughts of Mr Omarjee's party it would prefer if it in future abstained from speaking on behalf of those concerned.

Maori man with tattoo


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