Frenchman takes special memory home with him

French musician Moritz Von Korff left Womad with a permanent reminder of just what a special experience he had at the three-day festival.

Fascinated by the ta moko designs being etched on to people's skin at Te Paepae, the bassist and percussionist from reggae fusion band Dub Inc decided to get in on the act.

"It's a reminder of my son and a memory I can take home with me," Von Korff said of his tattoo.

Ta moko artist Rangi Kipa, 48, of Waitara, created Von Korff's tattoo.

He has attended every Womad festival since the event came to New Zealand. Mr Kipa, a former carver, has been creating ta moko for about 20 years.

"[Through ta moko] I get to keep a whole lot of my ancestral relationships alive," he said.

Mr Kipa, who expected to complete between ten and 15 works during the weekend, said "every piece was unique".

He had no problem with foreigners or non-Maori asking for a tattoo done in ta moko style.

"There is a big debate about whether to do moko on just Maori or not, and to me that's like saying we are only going to speak in our language with ourselves and not have a conversation with anyone else," he said. People wanted to have their stories told through Maori design.

"They will bring their narrative but it is our language and design. Womad is about engagement, on all sorts of different levels."

Te Paepae co-ordinator Wharehoka Wano, an adviser on Maori culture and artistry for Womad, said it was there to welcome international artists.

Mr Wano said as tangata whenua he wanted artists to take something away with them to treasure, which could be ta moko.

"We have a responsibility to tell our story."

Faleatua Malili is a Witt journalism student

Taranaki Daily News