Aotearoa Wisdom Face

The Aotearoa Zulu Logo Story

South Pacific Flavor

ESP & Juse1

Māori Ta Moko
Moko was not confined to families of rank, it could be earned by warriors and others of distinction.  However the quantity, quality and many of the patterns can only be applied to ranking individuals.  Rank is not the same as class though.  It is correct that there were 3 classes in Maori society:

•    Rangatira (chiefs)
•    Tutua (Commoners)
•    Taurekareka (Slaves)

Following traditions involved in the ancient practice I have not attempted to spell out all details on how to understand Moko.  Knowledge can never be given without a koha in return.  The koha in this instance is your understanding and the effort needed to arrive at that knowledge contained within the structure of our own Ta Moko and the meanings of the patterns used within.

Ahu e huruhuru mākū e te rangi
Ahu e huruhuru wai e te rangi
Ahu e huruhuru papa e te rangi
Ahu e puna wai mākū e te rangi
Ahu e wai māna e panekereru te rangi

Ko te karakia tē a Māui he taumaha mō tēnei mahi whakamārama I tētahi wāhi ahakoa iti noa atu o ngā wānanga o mua.  Nōreira e ngā mate rongonui o namata noa atu tae noa ki tēnei rā, haere koutou, haere koutou, haere koutou, ko ngā whetū e aho ana i te rangi e tū he rama taketake.

The prayers above, Māui’s karakia, is to lift the tapu from this small portion of the ancient learning.  First we must farewell the famous ancestors of ancient times down to those to this day.  Farewell, farewell, farewell, your eyes, the stars in the sky will forever remain as beacons.

In Māori society each level or rank had their own recognizable tattoo marks.  While lineage or descent was important, that descent needs to be recognized formally by the parents or superiors.  A formal rise in rank can be granted by the whare wānanga (the college of learning) and by superiors.  Such a rise could be for the lifetime of the recipient or be hereditary, and this was noted on the moko.

Recognised hereditary rank and achieved rank were to aspects marked in the moko.  Sometimes people of high status served the upper ranks as warriors, gardeners and servants.  They would have been marked with their rank as well as their occupation.
Information carried by the Moko was the same over the whole country, though it may have been given in slightly different ways depending on the tribal moko style, individual artists and local innovations.

The names of ranks given and for the divisions of the face and so on are given in the ‘Ariki’ or chiefly language.  Such knowledge is referred to as ‘Ariki” knowledge and in former times could only be taught within the whare wānanga where the chiefly language was used.

In Ta Moko the face divides along the centre line with each side being concerned with a different ancestry.  In most tribes the left side (Taha Māui) of a living person is the side of the father, while the right (Taha Matau) is the mothers side.  For Te Arawa and Ngai Tahu, this system is reversed.

Ours (Aotearoa Zulus) is also reversed because it’s not going on to a living persons face and is symbolic as our groups collective faces joined as one.

Designs placed in facial divisions may appear symmetrical but  they are not necessarily so.  One side may have no design, as that side of the ancestry was not entitled to have a design in that area, in other words, was not of that rank.

Our Taitoto (birth status) as a Universal Zulu Nation Chapter, is defined by all the design elements and their collective representations to form this Wisdom Face story.

The main divisions of our Wisdom Face and the meaning of the design’s placed in them are as follows:

A:  Nga Kaipikirau – Reserved for Rank.  Taiopuru, Ahupiri, Arikinui and Ariki – also for rank conferred on a person of lower status.

A person with no status inherited from one or both sides will have no design in this area.
Designs placed here vary to fit the Ariki status of the individual. The Ariki are direct descendants of the Gods, therefore this section is reserved for them.

The meaning of the Moko patterns is Te Wairua Tapu, the heavenly waters which give life, and Te Ira Atua, the life force of the Gods and Te ira Tangata, the life force of man.These patterns are for the Taiopuru, the Tuakana (elders) line, which lead back to the Gods.  Preferred descent was through the male line but the female line was also recognized if a male line was not available.

The designs used in this Titi show a scroll either side of the centre line linking into a centre line spiral, with a pair of down curving spirals above, connecting back to the centre line.  The scroll form (Ipu Rangi) is open to allow the waters of life, Te Wairua Tapu, to nourish the life force of man, symbolized by the centre line spirals which connect through the down curving spirals above back to the life force of the Gods.

Beneath this are paired Koru (clubbed-end) spirals either side of the centre line.  These are pointing down which symbolize authority over the area from far north downwards.

Note:  Contemporary Transition
This Nga Kaipikirau represents the eldest line in Aotearoa with direct connections back to the creators of the Hip Hop culture we represent.  The downward spiral represents being recognized formally by the Universal Zulu Nation.  The double lined triangle under the right spiral represents Khmer being the 1st Zulu Ahki in Aotearoa and the left side spiral represents Spexone being the 1st Zulu Malikah in Aotearoa.

The reason behind the double lines is show they were 1st to achieve this position and that Zulu Nation will hold them down.  We have also placed in the negative space behind the clubbed koru,a hidden design called (Te Karu) in the shape of a diamond curve too indicate the female line of descent.

The four remaining negative spaces on each side refer too our leaders commitment to bringing together the four elements as a unified nation.  The pattern is protected by double lines which connect to the Ngunga.


B:  Ngunga – indicate position in life, by number and arrangement of lines  placed within the rays.

The rays (Tiwhana) above the eyebrows indicate a descent from the 1st line, 2nd line or a person raised to the (Noaia) rank.

Ngunga is the place where the baskets of knowledge are stored.

NOTE:  Contemporary Translation
The top ray is two lines fused to show people wanting to join the group, that they must follow in the footsteps of tradition, which is why the top lines cut short and joined to the Nga kaipikirau, because that’s the correct way through.

The 2nd ray is also fused to represent that each chapter member is responsible not only for themselves, but also the members of their group.

The 3rd Ray is also fused to represent our Chapter Council, who have to be the face of the organization, who work hard behind the scenes and still represent their chosen element.

The 4th ray drops below the eye line and is two split rays with a negative space in between.  This symbolizes the Ahki and Malikah guarding true knowledge in a symbolic relationship that promotes growth for their tribe. The negative space is the (Ihi) life force and Mana of the collective whole.

The top of rays above the eyebrows are Tiwhana the bottom is Ngunga.  All the rays but top 1 extend past the outer band to symbolize the fact that our organization is worldwide, so link up – it’s up to you where you take it!

Stored in between the outer band is our groups accumulated knowledge. The 5th are for the Shaka Zulus.

C:  Uirere – contemporary meaning only (Relative 2 Shaka Zulus only)
Position signifies a central position within Aotearoa Zulu central to all relevant information regarding security for the group.

Shakas must keep an eye out for their brothers and sisters and listen to any concerns voiced, while word must be kept silent to avoid leaks of information out side of the council, the king, and queen and chapter members.

The diamond pattern here used for the nose shows a messenger for the King and is isolated from the linking in to the overall pattern to show that a Shaka Zulu has to undergo training consistently to maintain that position, therefore should be recognized as such and treated with deference regarding this moko.

The role of our Shaka Zulus are to guard and protect with passion.


D:   UMA – 1st and 2nd Marriage – contemporary patterns and meaning.

This signifies our individual and collective commitments to both hip hop and other members in this group. This is shown also through the connection of the spirals linking back to the Ngunga (our baskets of knowledge), which must be treasured and protected to ensure that true knowledge of self is always kept in mind.

The bottom half of this spiral represents each individuals, personal commitments to the culture, or individual history that we bring with us and share with each other which transforms into our collective voice, wisdom and vision.

D:  UMA – Female side:  Links up and encloses the Nga Kaipikirau – representing the feminine energy and strength brought in by our Malikahs and Queens.  The male’s energy and strength is mirrored the same way on the other side of the Nga Kaipikirau.

E: RAURAU – signature is represented by putting our unified story on to the Wisdom Face lips and tongue.

F:   TAIOHOU work – contemporary patterns for both sides of the face
On the mothers side, the pattern is based on creative energy and nurturing opportunity for themselves and the whanau (family) through skills gained and shared amongst the group.
This pattern is based on the gardener’s pattern, which is seen as the vertical both shape with end curling over, with an extra curl repeating the top one in the centre.

This fits into the female Uma and through to the Kaipikirau following up.  But the bottom of the pattern ends in a double-ended spiral, which is a sign of supreme Tapu, reflecting respect for the work our Malikahs and Queens do.

The little Koru joins the Taitoto (birth status) line from which our connections come from and link through into the designs, which make up the mouth Upo.

The tongue patterns also represent our sister’s connections to us and to show that our Malikahs knowledge is important.  Two ribs behind this pattern in the outer band show the Ahkis bottom and leaders of the chapter support this.

The double line inside that Uma is to show that Malikah will also support Malikah – big sister/little sister relationship.  This is balanced by a small black triangle, which runs downward along the Taitoto line.  This protected knowledge, which shows the Shaka’s hold down the Malikahs and enable them to speak freely.


F:  Taiohou – Work Fathers side
A large double-ended spiral flowing through into the Ngunga Tiwhana lines and into the Nga Kaipikirau, which symbolizes the supreme Tapu, created when individuals unite to create peaceful resolutions and outcomes for the benefits of the Tribe.  The top line is the Ahkis creative energy, the bottom line of the spiral is us being aware that we must always think of our Malikahs, because their energy is also part of our kaupapa, and this line also forms the top ray of the Ngunga, which represents the knowledge, and skills our Malikahs bring with them.

NOTE:  The top line of the spiral, our creative energy, is holding up our commitment to ourselves and our nation.

The little club koru which links from the male Taitoto line symbolizes new life brought through into the group and the unity of male and female life forces joining to create opportunity for yourself and each other.

The rib in the outer band is the Malikahs supporting Ahkis.  The black triangle is our Shaka’s commitment to their brothers.


The nose is dedicated to the Shakas.  The diamond shape shows a messenger for the head of our tribe.

G:  WAIRUA MANA – Based on traditional meanings with contemporary interpretations applied to patterns.

This is about individual Mana, personal identification and signs of rank granted.

On the fathers side of the pattern the side of the tongue is a Pūkauwae (a downward anchor) which represents Ahki Khmer being given control of a tribal area in a Zulu hip hop context, double lined to show Ahki Khmer was chosen for this by Jazzy Jay and because it’s a 1st for Aotearoa. The mouth rays (RERE PEHI) curl under the chin and represent the Council and Chapter, also members lending support, helping to hold up some of the weight involved so we can build ourselves up toward the future.

The black triangle represents the Shaka’s having support. The black triangle above this one with a white triangle inside is to show that Shaka’s are aware of the need to move in silence and not gossip about Shaka Zulu business and reflects the Shaka’s position and status.

Mothers side – WARUNGA also KAUWAE.

This name is also often used for the patterns.  The basic form is two semi circle spirals facing out with a curved tongue inside. If the lady descends from male lineage, patterns are taken from both mother and fathers sides.  A woman of high rank also has reversed spirals with long outer legs as the lower elements so the top spiral is Malikah Spexone who is the 1st wahine in Aotearoa to be put within the Aotearoa Zulu Nation into a position with authority given from superiors and peers.  The bottom line is the support, which the tribe provides, appropriate for one in this position.

The curved tongue is showing that Shaka’s also have her back.  
The bottom spiral is connected to top spiral through a double bar beside the tongue, which is the voice of our Malikahs through Spexone.  The small bar running along side this one is Malikah Silas – The 1st female to sit as a Chapter Council member.  These bars connect back to the spine of the design.

Both sides of the wairua patterns (mana) merge into the tongue and lips.

The tongue:  contemporary design using traditional infinity symbols (white designs inside tongues) to show we take on the Universal Zulu Nation principles of

  1. Peace
  2. Love
  3. Unity
  4. Knowledge
  5. Wisdom
  6. Truth


The tongue shows that as a group we speak the same language share the same voice – face the world united and deliver the truth.  The white band around the tongue is our Universal Zulu Nation contacts and superiors/peers who gave us the knowledge and helped us set it up.  The gap below the tongue is to show that that knowledge was given and is expected in return, this line continues through both sides of the lip, which link up male and female knowledge.


The lips E RAURAU – signature contemporary meaning
3 bars form the lips.  The outer and inner white bars represent the council and chapter leaders coming together, with the Shaka line symbolized as the black bar, which is entwined round and supports our cause.  The two negative spaces that remain around the infinity symbols refer to our Chapter members.

The other 3 bars are represented in the Shaka’s black lip bar relates to us being our own Shakas for now.

Samoan Tatau

Within many Tatau/pasifika designs, the symbols are metaphoric and can have one or man meanings depending on the reason for use, taken from nature/environment and everyday life.

Each symbol gains more power when used as a whole, here is a small breakdown of individual symbols, but as a whole they represent family, strength, unity and protection.

A- The Centipede, is a symbol of strength/ protection of family

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B- The spine, strong support and backbone is important within family, holds the unit together as one

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C- These are symbols that reference the fishing net, surrounding the family and harvesting/catching knowledge to grow

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D- The Nifo, these are the Teeth of the Tatau tools (the Ao), used to carve the tattoo. This represents the marking of knowledge and understanding your place in the family and in life, the tatau is a very important and proud recognition of ones self.



E- Manu- the bird, represents new horizons, extending ones knowledge, onwards and upwards

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F- This symbol is representative of the family unit, almost like a spine in ways, but more about the continuation of family and standing together as one, if one were to fall, the rest would feel it, so the stacked feel to the symbol represents that and also references the fale (house) structure.



G- Sharks teeth, again represents protection and strength.

Peace, wisdom and light for sharing our Aotearoa Zulu story.

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5 thoughts on “Aotearoa Wisdom Face

  1. Peace and Greatest respect to a great amazulu family the Aotearoa Zulu.Much respect for an in depth description teaching all of us a True infinity lesson that goes deep into culture and tradition.We thank you ,
    Peace and continued Strength,
    Great Wisdom upon you all.

    Minister King Excel
    Universal Zulu Nation
    Zulu World Council
    ZULU61

  2. PeaZe Amazulus!

    This is a fantastic lesson and properly the best one i´ve read in a while! Thank You And keep it Up!
    Infinite Blizz!

    AmaZulu World Minister “LIFE-9” Of The:
    5:1 Zulus
    Holland Zulus
    Calafia Zulus
    Malta Zulus

  3. Peace Love & Light Amazulu’s-Lord’s ,King’s ,Queen’s ,Ahki’s & Malika’s…This is beautiful to see this information of the Aotearoa Zulu and we all need to build with one another as much as we can as ahki’s & malika’s! Giving the love to the supreme force for making this happen and hope that all other brother’s & sister’s across the globe will reach out the same.

    Much Love To You All…
    Amazulu Rob Nice

    U.Z.N 206 Zulu Seattle Chapter…

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