SZA Got “Kirituhi” Tattoos to Honor Her Family While in New Zealand — See Photos

If SZA’s music repertoire has proven anything, it’s how deftly she can weave stories in song — but perhaps her greatest stories of all are told in her tattoos. While backstage at her own show last October, the star debuted a Morse code “SOS” tattoo, and her latest ink arrived while on tour in Auckland, New Zealand.

On April 16, 2024, SZA posted a photo of her new kirituhi tattoo to her Instagram stories, tagging Māori tattoo artist Leroy Roberts, the owner of Maia Ink, who also shared it to his IG Stories.

“One side represents my mother’s lineage, the other my father’s,” SZA wrote in the slide while sharing her new ink. Kirituhi, which literally means “marking the skin,” is used specifically for people who aren’t Māori and shouldn’t be confused with tā moko.

SZA showing off her Kirituhi tattoos on her chest.

Courtesy of SZA/Instagram @SZA

Both tā moko and kirituhi can hold significance to the wearer in reflecting their genealogy and journey through life. However, tā moko are tattoos worn only by Māori, including the moko kauae chin markings for women and facial mataora for men. It’s believed that moko is always there beneath the skin; it just takes an artist to reveal it to the world.

Aside from getting her kirituhi, SZA is clearly loving being in NZ. At her second Spark Arena show in Auckland, the singer opened with Māori artists performing the “Ka Mate” haka. She later performed “20 Something” wrapped in the red, white, and black of the Tino rangatiratanga flag — a symbol of self-determination and sovereignty, captioning her IG story with “Māori to the world.” SZA’s show ended with a Māori prayer, as fans throughout the venue took part in sending her off with good wishes.


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