The main themes of this Polynesian half sleeve tattoo designed for Stephan are family and protection.
Family is central, symbolized by the big turtle covering the shoulder
and by the braids around it for unity.
A couple is on the shell of the turtle with their children below them and a bird above, while ancestors guard on them together with the tiki on top and the ones on the front flippers.
Fish hooks for the back flippers symbolize prosperity.
The sun on top is a symbol of joy and mountains represent stability.
The stepping stones at the base are the things learnt and achieved,
while the spearheads and the octopus tentacles show the tenacity and
strength that led to them along a challenging path (the path of
The puhoro motif too shows a path that went through several trials and steps (ahuahu o Mataora) which finally led to reaching balance and prosperity.
Two moray eels in the past represent the two great trials faced and
defeated (the fan).
The lizard symbolizes a contact with the spiritual world, and the 4 enata are people who helped along this new path for the family.
The colored image below helps identifying the individual elements
within the tattoo: