Should non-Māori receive a chin moko (moko kauwae) or full facial moko (mataora)? That's the question that's garnering a tidal wave of comments on social media.

The issue has emerged from a newspaper article about a Pākehā businesswoman, Sally Anderson who has a moko kauwae.

Roger Te Tai is the husband of Sally Anderson and says it took him a long time to support his wife in getting one.

“It took me two and a half years for me to actually accept and have it done.”

The issue is being hotly debated as to whether it’s right for a non-Maori to receive the moko kauwae or mataora.

Te Tai says everyone has a right to think what they want but supports his wife regardless.

“He pai rawa atu that's their whakaaro he pai tēnei whakaaro ki a rātou. But when you judge a person when you haven't met them what does that make? They should all be working in a courtroom those people that love judging people.”

Traditional Māori tattooist Te Kanawa Ngarotata doesn't agree saying there's a clear process one should follow to obtain such moko.

“Mā tō whānau, mā tō hapū, mā tō iwi rānei e whakaae kia whakawhiwhia koe ki tēnei moko.”

Ngarotata also says the issue is by no means a new one.

“Engari ētahi wā i whiwhi moko kauwae, mataora ētahi tāngata ehara i te mea he Pākehā, engari he tauiwi. Ko ērā tāngata kua noho i waenganui i ō tātou tīpuna, hapori, whānau, hapū me te tākoha, te whakarauora i ngā āhuatanga Māori.”

But Te Tai says that this was the exact process he and his partner followed with Te Tai's father endorsing the moko kauwae.

“As he said, she’s more Māori than you'll ever because her heart is pure always has been.”

Inia Taylor who did Anderson’s moko says if the whānau support it, then they should also offer support and guidance to the person with the moko.

“If someone comes to you and says they've got the support then who am I to say they shouldn't have it? The role of the iwi and hapū is to guide that person.”

Taylor also says it's an important issue that should be discussed widely.

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