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Monday, 22 May 2017

Polynesian Tattoos with Meaning

Polynesia is a land of diversity, where people belonging to different cultures, languages and tribes survive together in harmony. And when it comes to their tattoos, this diversity knows no bounds. The origin of Polynesia has been the topic of debate for many years; and perhaps up till now, historians couldn’t reach a definitive conclusion. However, ancient history suggests that the inhabitants of Polynesia are somehow rooted to the lands surrounding the central and southern parts of Pacific Ocean. It is also said that the ancient Polynesian history had no writing, and therefore their tattoos are a combination of various symbols with deep underlying meanings indicative of their identities, personalities, social hierarchy, genealogy and even sexual maturity.

This post aims at bringing forth some of the most popular tattoo designs from the rich and abundant array of Polynesian tattoos. So, if you are one of those who take a keen interest in tattoo designs and meanings, this write up definitely needs to be a good read for you.

List of 6 most popular Polynesian tattoos:

Choosing a few tattoo impressions from this rich “mix bag” is definitely a great task. Nevertheless, according to popularity few of the most common designs with meanings have been enlisted as follows:


Tiki design is similar to human figures representing semi gods. Tikis also denote ancestors and chiefs who were taken as semi gods and believed to serve as guardians protecting their people through thick and thin.

A little modification and styling done over the original Tiki design, incorporating tiny eyes, nostrils and ears gave rise to another very popular tattoo known as the “Tiki eyes”. The design sometimes comes with a stretched tongue symbolic of defiance towards enemies.


Turtle is a common tattoo design in many cultures bearing the similar meaning of peace, health, fertility and longevity.

In Polynesian culture, tattoo known as “honu” also symbolizes unity along with the other mentioned meanings.


Lizard holds an important place in Polynesian beliefs and myths. It was believed that gods appeared before men in the form of lizards and was a means of communication between gods and men. It is because of this reason that lizards are taken to be the sign of happiness, good luck and fortune.

People are also of the belief that if lizards are disrespected these powerful creatures can bring bad luck and misfortune.


Stingray tattoos meanings are similar to the creature. Stingrays have the ability to hide underwater sands to protect themselves from sharks. And therefore, stingray designs represent protection.

The tattoo designs can also represent gracefulness, adaptation, danger, peacefulness and agility.


Ocean and water bodies are very close to people belonging to Polynesia. Therefore, most Polynesians prefer getting an ocean tattoo imprinted on their body.

The meaning of this tattoo is dependent on the creatures living in the ocean. It can sometimes mean beyond death when ocean comes with a turtle figure. Again, it can also suggest source of food and life.


Enata meaning human figures is a representation of human relations. Again, an inverted Enata design represents defeated enemies. When the same design is clubbed together one afte the other, it looks similar to people holding hands and is known as “ani ata”.

These were few interesting tattoo designs coming from the land of Polynesia. These designs can be imprinted on any part of the body, therefore now that you have a brief idea about these designs you can choose one best suiting your personality.

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