Jason Momoa Said Getting A Traditional Native Hawaiian Tattoo On His Head Was A "Powerful Moment" In His Life

·2 min read

In case you missed it, Jason Momoa posted a video yesterday where he briefly shared his new head tattoo.

  Chris Hyde / Getty Images
Chris Hyde / Getty Images

As he boarded a flight to Aotearoa (New Zealand), he took off his hat and gave us a glimpse:

The tattoo features three columns of arrows on the side of his head running from the base of his neck's, around his ear, to the top of his scalp

As a Polynesian woman, I love to see it!

Jason Momoa/ instagram.com

Well, Jason just shared a second post about his tattoo!

  Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"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.

  @maineikinimaka / @leicacamerausa / Jason Momoa /  instagram.com
@maineikinimaka / @leicacamerausa / Jason Momoa / instagram.com

Then, the artist uses handmade tools to tap the ink into the skin, which is way more painful than the modern tattoo machines.

Two gloved hands hold Jason's head down as someone else taps the ink into the tattoo
@maineikinimaka / @leicacamerausa / Jason Momoa / instagram.com

The person getting the tattoo is often surrounded by loved ones, who usually offer support in the form of songs, comfort, and food.

Jason holding hands with someone

Getting a Polynesian tattoo in the traditional way is a great honor, as it connects you with your ancestors and symbolizes your dedication to the culture.

@maineikinimaka / @leicacamerausa / Jason Momoa / instagram.com

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.

A red carpet photo featuring Jason's arm tattoo, which features columns of arrows encircling his forearm and pointing down toward his hand

His tattoo is "supposed to take the darkness out of your heart and bring the light in," he said at the Armageddon Expo. "But we’re still working on that," he joked.

Jerod Harris / Getty Images

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.

Jason's head tattoo next to an image of Native Hawaiian spearheads; the designs are similar

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.

The writer's tattoo, which circles around their wrist and up the back of their hand onto their index finger
Morgan Sloss / BuzzFeed

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 endures the pain of the traditional tattoos for the culture. Malo, Jason!