„Ko main kai atu ko maru kai mai ka ngohengohe.“
– „Give as much as you can and everything will be fine;
Don’t be selfish, live a balanced Life.“
„Placement on the Body plays an important Role in Polynesian tattooing. There are several Elements that inherit a specific Meaning based on their Placement and even the Relation between Elements and their relative Positioning has an Influence on the Meaning of a Tattoo.
Humans are Children of Rangi (Heaven) and Papa (Earth), which were once united. Man’s Quest is to find that Union again and the Body can ideally be seen as a Link between Rangi and Papa, where the upper Part is related to material World and to Papa, similarly to most Cultures worldwide. The Placements of some Elements on the Body, such as Genealogy Tracks on the back of the Arms, suggest that the Back may be related to the Past and the Front to the Future.
Gender-wise, left is usually associated to female and right to male.
A Tattoo should then reflect Balance and Union, containing Elements relating to both Rangi and Papa; the Position of Tattoos on the Body often followed a balancing Rule, too: a Tattoo on the left Leg could be matched by another one on the right Arm and so on.“
From The Polynesian Tattoo Handbook, available here: