Savage Symbols

Location:New Zealand/Aotearoa
Length:55 minutes
Format:Beta SP, VHS, streaming
Year Released:2002
Director:Makerita Urale
Producer:Makerita Urale
Library Code:
Description:Having survived colonialism and Christianity, the ancient tradition of tatau's biggest challenge in the 21st century may be the fashion factor. The Samoan master tattooists in Makerita Urale's Savage Symbols make it very clear that the tatau can never be mere adornment of the individual. There are even those who question the validity of the tattooing carried by ethnic Samoans born outside Samoa. Urale responds with vivid testimony to the strengths and passion of urban males in New Zealand who have dared to face the excruciating pain of the tatau as a symbol of identity, artistic expression and cultural allegiance. We meet several Kiwi soga'imiti (tattooed men) including a King Cobra gangsta, a blues guitarist, a visual artist, a film crew worker and a young church minister defying ecclesiastical rule. Savage Symbols is a directorial debut for Makerita Urale. Funded by the Screen Innovation Fund, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the NZ Film Commission to support emerging filmmakers. Film streams on NZ On Screen, at
Record No:2528
Resources: Distributors's List

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