Indigenous | Tā moko/Kirituhi

Daughter of leading tāmoko artist blazes own trail

Wairingiringi Toi (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao) is following in the footsteps of her father, Gordon Toi, by opening her own tāmoko studio in New Lynn, Tāmaki Makaurau.

“This studio itself was really a way that I can represent myself as Wairingiringi Toi, the tāmoko artist who comes from another amazing artist, Gordon Toi,” she says.

The former student of Te Kura Māori o Nga Tapuwai started her tāmoko journey in 2016. Her studio is part of the Native Collective, which includes artists who all learned from her dad.

“Moko definitely is my pathway for sure, and I think that's just a huge influence on my upbringing really, and that's kind of all I've known in a sense.

Wairingiringi Toi makes her own way in tā moko.

“Dad has just been really supportive but always challenges me and pushes me but it's all worth it because I am able to be here in my own space but carry on what he started - it's quite special.”

Mau Te Rongo has only been open for eight weeks, marking the beginning of her journey to blaze her own trail, and she has the full support of her dad.

He says he is "very, very proud and very, very honoured that my daughter has taken these steps and she's a part of the kaupapa now, she's part of history.

“I encouraged her to cut her own path and leave her own mark and she will. She will do that.”