Polynesian Tattoo Designs And Their Meanings

A Polynesian tattoo is a good alternative for people who want tattoos. The practice of tattooing in Polynesia is an ancestral practice that has continued over the course of time and continues to exist with new generations. There are different styles and variations depending on the islands, but they all have the same cultural background. Continuing we will describe what the most important symbols and their meaning are so that you can choose a custom Polynesian tattoo. Keep reading to know the meaning of Polynesian tattoos.

The different meanings of Polynesian tattoos:


The tiki is a Maori symbol representing a half-human, half-god being. The tiki has the power to smell and pursue evil. It symbolizes strength and masculinity. It also functions as a doorman to protect the wearer from danger and evil spirits.


Seashells and shells are a recurrent element of Polynesian tattoos and in particular the shell of the turtle, a very important animal in Polynesian culture. The turtle shell symbolizes longevity, well-being, fertility, and peace. Seashells and shells symbolize in broader sense protection, a shield, and intimacy.


As mentioned earlier, the turtle is one of the most important animals in Polynesian culture. The turtle represents strength and protection. The turtle is also considered a divinity capable of moving freely between the land and the ocean.

The sun

The sun is often associated with other symbols to add the meaning of grandeur and prosperity. The sun also represents eternity, because it rises every day.


In the Polynesian world, the ocean is considered important, and they believe the ocean is a place where the ancestors live. The ocean is also their main source of food, it also represents life and fertility. In Polynesian tattooing, the ocean is often used as a complement to another tattoo.

Spear tips

Spear points symbolize fighting spirit and courage. If you consider yourself a warrior, include this symbol in your Polynesian tattoo is perfectly indicated.

Shark teeth

Shark teeth are one of the most common symbols in Polynesian tattoos. This design symbolizes a shelter or cover, orientation, power, ferocity, and adaptability.

Gecko or lizard

The Lizard is a form of divine appearance among Polynesians. He represents the gods and all that is divine. It is a symbol of luck and fortune for those who have a symbol in his tattoo.

Enata, “the man”

The tattoo of Enata is very widespread, especially in the Marquesas culture. Enata represents men and gods. But it makes sense when it is associated with another tattoo. It allows illustrating the stages of a person’s life, such as births and marriages, as well as the social status of the person who wears it. An inverted Enata represents the enemies.

The marquise cross

In our culture the cross is associated with the Christian religion, it is not at all the case in the Polynesian religion, the Marquise Cross is a symbol of harmony and peace between all the elements.

Marine animals:

The manta ray

In Polynesian cultures, the manta ray is a sign of freedom. But it also represents the quiet force, an animal that hides its great power by humility and wisdom. It is a tree raised by people who are loud but strong, who think before acting and always try to pursue justice in their action.

The dolphin

Like the manta ray tattoo, the dolphin tattoo represents freedom In Polynesian mythology the dolphin guided the Maori to the promised land while protecting them from sharks. It is a very important animal for Polynesians because it means protection and guidance.

Here you can find the best Polynesian tattoo designs:

The scorpion is an animal of great importance and very important for some African and Asian cultures. In this tattoo, several Maori symbols are used.

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This is all about Polynesian tattoo designs. Hope you enjoyed the article. Don’t forget to share this wonderful tattoo designs with your friends on social media.