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Maori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. The word "Maori" literally means "the local people", or "the original people". Maori masks are called Ta- moko which is permanent body and face designs tattooed into the skin of Maori natives as a part of their rich traditional history. The tattoos hold powerful meanings and also portray the legal identity of the individual.
The people who created the tattoos were called Tohunga ta- moko (or tattooists). They enjoyed the status of tapu, and were considered to be exceptionally pure, incorruptible and sacred
Making Kirituhi masks (the modern Polynesian tattoo form for non-Maori people) would be a good classroom project to apply to the blank mask templates images. Kirituhi is a Maori word assigned to Maori-inspired tattoo designs that mimic Maori markings but have no particular cultural. Each authentic Maori tattoo is considered sacred and as individual as a fingerprint, Kirituhu tattoos were developed out of respect for Maori culture. Children could design their own unique, pretend New Zealand native tattoo Kirituhi mask and make it come to life with stories and song.
These masks are a cool way to introduce lessons about New Zealand's history.
Print and trace the designs onto multi-color fun craft foam sheets to create colorful soft face masks. Use the left over trimmings of foam pieces to cut and paste designs and shapes onto the mask.