As he boarded a flight to Aotearoa (New Zealand), he took off his hat and gave us a glimpse:
Well, Jason just shared a second post about his tattoo!
“Honored to be a part of this,” he wrote in the caption. “Powerful moment in my life.”
This is such a special moment because Jason got his tat done in the traditional Polynesian way. It usually starts with the artist freehanding the design based on conversations about character, family, and culture.
Then, the artist uses handmade tools to tap the ink into the skin, which is way more painful than the modern tattoo machines.
The person getting the tattoo is often surrounded by loved ones, who usually offer support in the form of songs, comfort, and food.
While Jason didn’t mention the meaning behind his new tattoo, he has explained the one on his arm, which represents shark teeth as a tribute to his aumakua. For Native Hawaiians, the aumakua is an ancestor who comes back in a different form, often as an animal, to protect their descendants. Jason’s family’s guardian spirit is a shark.
So this new tattoo could be another way to honor his aumakua, but the designs look like Native Hawaiian spearheads to me (though I’m no expert!). There are several variations of spearhead designs across the islands, but it’s very common in Polynesian tattoos.
I’m Samoan, so the spearheads in my tattoo were done in the typical Samoan fashion. To me, they represent protection. But for many other Polynesians, they can symbolize the warrior, providing for your family, courage in battle, and more.
Whatever the meaning, I’m sure it’s personal and powerful to Jason! I’m so proud of any Polynesian who embarks on this journey and hardens the pain of the traditional tattoos for the culture. Malo, Jason!