Get inked at IMEX Frankfurt

Want a free face tattoo? Attendees of the IMEX Frankfurt trade show later this month could return home with a permanent reminder of their visit to the 100% Pure New Zealand stand which is offering traditional Māori tattoos.

Live tā moko (traditional Māori tattooing) will be available from respected tā moko artist Arekatera ‘Katz’ Maihi from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.

“Tā moko is a tāonga (treasure) to Māori people and culture,” said Maihi. “Tā moko has to be about connection, otherwise it’s just a drawing. Connections can be between you, your whanau (family), your area, your environment or anything else specific to your life.”

In the tā moko process, no design ideas are shown in advance. The artist listens to the recipient’s kōrero (narrative) and, using their knowledge of traditional Māori designs, brings to life their individual story. Afterwards, the meaning of the visual representations is explained by the artist.

“Part of tā moko is getting what you’re meant to receive,” said Maihi. “It can feel like a risk to entrust your story to someone else and then let them have access to your skin. It’s a leap of faith on both sides.”

Tourism New Zealand’s global manager business events, Anna Fennessy, says that the concept of communication and trust is also integral to the relationship between an event planner and their chosen destination.

“Having tā moko on the stand provides an opportunity for international visitors to engage with our culture and experience our ability to create and deliver something bespoke and amazing. It will provide a truly memorable way for New Zealand to make its mark,” she said.

If getting inked is not for you, visitors to the New Zealand stand are also invited to participate in the Māori tradition of kōrero and kai (a chat and a snack) by meeting and eating together around a table.

“Part of New Zealand’s appeal as a business destination is our personal approach to business, ease of travel, and surrounding environment,” said Fennessy. “The kōrero and kai concept allows us to promote these factors to potential business event partners and exemplify Kiwi hospitality in a boutique and personal manner amid a large, open-plan exhibition setting.”

Stand partners include the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland, and Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre. Both are currently under construction and set to open in 2020, ensuring New Zealand’s conference venue options are bigger and more varied than ever.

Auckland Convention Bureau and Auckland Conventions Venues & Events will also be on the stand.

Representatives from Te Puia in Rotorua, home to the NZMACI and authentic cultural experiences, will also be present, as well as destination management experts ID New Zealand.

Visit New Zealand will be at stand C300 at IMEX Frankfurt on 21-23 May.