Polynesian tattoo

92 Universal Polynesian Tattoo Designs That Welcome Diversity And Culture

As long as the visuals are presentable and the design allows the wearer to find contentment, any tattoo is welcomed with open arms. However, within those visually appealing options lies a handful of designs that are both metaphorically and aesthetically moving; some of which are Polynesian tattoos.

Polynesian tattoos are known for conveying fruitful messages through brilliant illustrations. Although they were initially curated for separating the prominent members of Polynesian culture, the purpose they serve at the moment is quite different from what it once was.

The number of variants available has also increased substantially over the past few decades, which is only said to expand with each day. Nonetheless, if you’d like to skim through the most desired variants of Polynesian tattoos currently on the market, give this article a read!

The Rich Meaning Of Polynesian Tattoos

Meaning Of Polynesian Tattoo

Polynesian tattoos were initially for people of the upper echelon in Polynesia. Leaders of tribes were also rewarded with tattoos after reaching milestones, preferably after winning battles or looking out for the tribe in one way or the other.

Before installing them with tattooing needles, Polynesian tattoos were often pierced into the skin using a needle made of bones and wood. Although painful, this method was known for incorporating bright visuals and giving the skin a polished look. In certain areas, the traditional method of installing Polynesian tattoos is still available to this day.

As of right now, there are five types of Polynesian tattoos, all of which are different from one another in terms of visuals. However, when push comes to shove, Polynesian tattoos are associated with individuality, strength, power, and courage. Each tattoo is often a compilation of a series of Polynesian symbols, each of which is tied with different meanings. Certain patterns under Polynesian tattoos are also perceived as being crucial components to obtaining spiritual growth and power.

Although they initially came into existence to serve powerful people and help them gain recognition, Polynesian tattoos are now applicable to anyone, being seen as a way for one to embrace and represent their Polynesian culture and heritage. The tattoo is also quite sought-after in pop culture, having celebrities like the Rock, Jason Momoa, and Ruby Rose as notable representatives.

Enchanting Polynesian Tattoo Ideas To Wear This Instant!

Although they do look quite similar from afar, each Polynesian tattoo is different, and typically belongs to one of the 5 existing categories of Polynesian tattoos. While Hawaiian tattoos are the frontrunners, Samoan, Maori and Marquesan are just as compelling. The most spontaneous ones, however, are Tahitian Polynesian tattoos, which typically run high in metaphor.

From wearing them as a sleeve tattoo to incorporating their symbols into an armband tattoo, a Polynesian tattoo can be obtained in every possible way. However, if you’d like to see the most noteworthy entries, give the following list a chance!

Polynesian Tribal Tattoo

Polynesian Tribal Tattoo 1


Polynesian Tribal Tattoo 2


Polynesian Tribal Tattoo 3


Kicking this list off is a Polynesian tribal tattoo, which represents ancient Polynesian culture and practices. The artwork gravitates towards strength and power, and was often found on the chest of leaders and tribe members back in the day.

At the moment, Polynesian tribal tattoos are great for paying homage to the notable figures in ancient Polynesian civilization. The illustration reprises the same old component that it carried, which can be painful for first-timers to obtain. This entry also requires multiple touch ups, which can eventually leave a dent in one’s savings.

Polynesian Leg Tattoo

Polynesian Leg Tattoo 1


Polynesian Leg Tattoo 2


Another variant with a substantial art piece is a Polynesian leg tattoo, which can be brutal to install. The visuals, on the other hand, can be worth the wait and the pain.

A Polynesian leg tattoo can either be created with a large symbol or a compilation of multiple emblems, although the former might be more time-friendly. One can also get it done with the traditional Polynesian tattooing instrument, especially if one wants the leg tattoo to look glossy and preserve its colour scheme for a long time.

Polynesian Sleeve Tattoo

Polynesian Sleeve Tattoo 1


Polynesian Sleeve Tattoo 2


If you want an option that will allow you to keep adding to the artwork even after the final design is complete, a sleeve Polynesian tattoo could be your best bet.

From expressing individuality to paying homage to ancestors, a Polynesian sleeve tattoo can be used to demonstrate anything. Although most Polynesian tattoos are draped in green, this variant looks best when paired with jet black.

A Polynesian sleeve tattoo will be helpful if you’re a storyteller. However, know that the artwork is quite demanding, requiring bi-monthly touch ups to stay sane.

Polynesian Forearm Tattoo

Polynesian Forearm Tattoo 1


Polynesian Forearm Tattoo 2


Polynesian Forearm Tattoo 3


Even though Polynesian tattoos are almost always painful and brutal, a great variant that absorbs the pain effectively is a Polynesian forearm tattoo, which also varies in size.

The first variant is wider, but is limited in terms of length. It can be a good variant to install if you’re into neutral colours, sharp borders, and simple designs.

Another option comprises an illustration which is almost as big as a sleeve tattoo, which can be a good move for those seeking an alternative with a louder aura. This option does look better in contrast to the former. However, the symbols and patterns involved can take a while to install.

Polynesian Turtle Tattoo

Polynesian Turtle Tattoo 1


Polynesian Turtle Tattoo 2


Polynesian Turtle Tattoo 3


Turtles don’t just look great when paired with Polynesian components, but they also carry tons of metaphoric value. According to most people with Polynesian blood, turtles are known for being the ultimate symbol of healing and spiritual growth. Those that wore it in the old days often obtained the artwork to protect themselves when hunting and fighting.

At the moment, however, a Polynesian turtle tattoo is known for being a variant with sophisticated yet flashy visuals. Since the component is also quite malleable, this option pairs best with creative minds.

Polynesian Arm Tattoo

Polynesian Arm Tattoo 1


Polynesian Arm Tattoo 2


Since Polynesian tattoos reek of wisdom, incorporating extravagant artwork should be the only way to go about it. And if you agree with that take of ours, you might just like the features of a Polynesian arm tattoo.

A Polynesian arm tattoo is often obtained in the upper half of the arm. The surface is quite resilient and flat, offering an easygoing procedure with little to no room for pain.

As for the design, know that you’re welcome to improvise and be spontaneous with it. However, if you do want to play it safe, take notes from the image used for this entry.

Polynesian Shoulder Tattoo

Polynesian Shoulder Tattoo


If you liked the previous notion, you might also like the characteristics of a Polynesian shoulder tattoo, comprising the same qualities with a twist.

When placed on the delts, a Polynesian artwork comprises glossy and bright visuals, being a feast for the eyes. However, in contrast to the previously mentioned arm tattoo, this tattoo has a smaller frame. Additionally, due to the bony structure of the shoulder, the pain level of this variant is a tad bit severe from most options on this list.

Polynesian Chest Tattoo

Polynesian Chest Tattoo 1


Polynesian Chest Tattoo 2


At the end of the day, the most common variant among Polynesian tattoos is chest tattoos, containing large complex designs with stick figures or emblems that have affiliations with the culture and heritage. The tattoo is also quite painless to obtain, and is often placed on one of the two sides of the chest.

The best part about this tattoo is the fact that it ages gracefully. Complex pieces, as well as subtle patterns, look quite soothing when placed as a Polynesian chest tattoo.

Polynesian Hand Tattoo

Polynesian Hand Tattoo 1


Polynesian Hand Tattoo 2


A Polynesian hand tattoo might be a bit peculiar. However, the structure of the design can be a great element to take into account for those seeking something minimal and long lasting.

A Polynesian hand tattoo often features a pair of symbols at one go, but it can also be curated with heavy and sharp borders and patterns. Although the visuals are always soothing, a Polynesian tattoo can sting when placed as a hand tattoo due to all the nerve endings it comprises.

Polynesian Armband Tattoo

Polynesian Armband Tattoo


There are multiple ways to grieve the loss of a loved one. In Polynesia, however, obtaining an armband tattoo is the only way to cope with the loss of a loved one.

Even though it is primarily tied with mourning the loss of a loved one, armband tattoos also carry hints of wisdom, strength, and power. In the old days, Polynesian people also wore armbands when hitting significant milestones in life.

Traditional Polynesian Tattoo

Traditional Polynesian Tattoo


To rise above the rest, try thinking outside the box when obtaining a Polynesian tattoo. And if your creative mind fails you, take pointers from this traditional Polynesian tattoo.

Traditional tattoos are quite safe to install, since they’ve existed in the Polynesian culture for decades. The design makes no room for creativity, but contains tons of shapes and borders that make the visuals quite presentable at all times.

For best results, following the original procedure for creating Polynesian tattoos is advised.

Shark Polynesian Tattoo

Shark Polynesian Tattoo


A shark tattoo is quite glorified in Polynesian and Hawaiian culture, having ties with strength and guidance. Additionally, when placed as an arm tattoo or a bicep tattoo, shark tattoos often look presentable, vibrant, and appealing.

A shark Polynesian tattoo can be obtained in one of two ways. One can either obtain the silhouettes of a shark for simplicity or obtain a symbol of a shark tooth for withholding the meaning from the audience.

Polynesian Neck Tattoo

Polynesian Neck Tattoo 1


Polynesian Neck Tattoo 2


Seeing beauty beyond the pain is a mantra that Polynesian tattoos carry. And while chest pieces tend to look best, another variant that looks just as delicate with a tad bit more edginess is a Polynesian neck tattoo.

The side of the neck is often the go-to area for a Polynesian neck tattoo, especially if the illustration contains one symbol only. For an enjoyable experience, keeping the dimensions as small as possible is advised.

Polynesian Plumeria Tattoo

Polynesian Plumeria Tattoo 1


Polynesian Plumeria Tattoo 2


The purpose of Polynesian tattoos and plumerias go hand in hand, which explains the reason behind this tattoo’s existence.

A plumeria tattoo carries the circle of life, which directly matches a Polynesian tattoo’s knack for development and growth. The artwork is also just as powerful as the symbolism, comprising an array of plumerias draped in red ink.

Polynesian Face Tattoo

Polynesian Face Tattoo


Despite being controversial, a Polynesian face tattoo is also an entry one can consider. It consists of patterns typically curated with the original tattooing tool invented by Polynesians, involving multiple sessions and loads of pain.

Unless you actually have Polynesian ancestors, getting a Polynesian tattoo should be a no-no as it was mostly worn by dons. Doing so might also not make you the most approachable person at a 9-5.

Polynesian Back Tattoo

Polynesian Back Tattoo


Back tattoos were also quite high in numbers during the formative years of Polynesian tattoos, and were often given to people with higher statuses. And although they often looked intimidating in the eyes of spectators, the pain that the wearer had to endure during the installation was substantially higher, and unforgettable.

A Polynesian back tattoo isn’t for everyone. However, if you’d like to go ahead and get it anyway, make sure to clear your schedule, since the pattern often takes multiple sessions to complete.

Polynesian Flower Tattoo

Polynesian Flower Tattoo


If you liked the formerly mentioned Polynesian tattoo with a plumeria, but aren’t the biggest fan of the flower itself, a simple option you can resort to is a Polynesian flower tattoo, which can obtain the print of any floral design.

For best results, consider using the Polynesian pattern as a stem. Add a floral design on the tip of the stem to unlock a pattern with both neutral and vibrant colours.

Rihanna Polynesian Tattoo

Rihanna Polynesian Tattoo


If you want your Polynesian tattoo to enable you to express the amount of faith you have in religion, try taking notes from Rihanna’s Polynesian tattoo, involving a hand tattoo. The art piece is quite delicate, with an extremely painful process.

However, with enough patience and touch ups, this Polynesian tattoo can age better than most options falling under Polynesian tattoos.

Small Polynesian Tattoo

Small Polynesian Tattoo


Trimming the size down can be a good idea for beginners, especially if they’re seeking a small Polynesian tattoo that isn’t too loud. The visuals may be a little tough to generate, but should be a walk in the park if you reach out to a specialist.

Despite lacking size, a small Polynesian tattoo often takes tons of time. Typically, it takes around 2 complete sessions for this tattoo to come into place. The tattoo also mostly stands out when placed as an upper forearm tattoo.

Polynesian Warrior Tattoo

Polynesian Warrior Tattoo


In ancient times, warriors weren’t just compensated financially or with weapons, but also rewarded with tattoos, which are currently perceived as Polynesian warrior tattoos.

Most of them were either provided with stencils that would come in the form of a sleeve tattoo, or a chest piece that would expand to the shoulder blade. If you do want this design, be sure to apply tons of numbing cream to cope with the pain level it involves.

Polynesian Sun Tattoo

Polynesian Sun Tattoo


Emblems of the sun are quite renowned in Polynesian heritage, with ties that gravitate towards joy, happiness, and all the positives in life. It also reprises its affiliations with rebirth, growth and development.

A Polynesian sun tattoo is quite manageable to obtain but contains intricate details within the graph. If you do want to replicate this design, consider reaching out to a specialist or an expert.

Dragon Polynesian Tattoo

Dragon Polynesian Tattoo


In addition to being a huge part of Japanese culture, dragon tattoos are quite influential in Polynesian culture. Similar to Japanese dragon tattoos, Polynesian dragon tattoos are affiliated with strength and wisdom.

However, unlike Japanese dragon tattoos, Polynesian dragon tattoos are formed with shapes and symbols, which are then placed into the stencil of a dragon. To enhance the final impression, dark borders are often implemented.

Polynesian Animal Tattoo

Polynesian Animal Tattoo


With a series of micro-sized symbols, one can obtain this Polynesian tattoo, often perceived as a Polynesian animal tattoo. The tattoo is quite compact as opposed to most entries, being one of the easier options to get among Polynesian tattoos.

A Polynesian animal tattoo often contains the facial structure of an animal, which can also be expanded to look bigger and better.

Hawaiian Polynesian Tattoo

Hawaiian Polynesian Tattoo


Containing aquatic symbols, a Hawaiian tattoo is also one of the most desirable options under Polynesian tattoos. The visuals are easily the frontrunners, while the symbolism, having ties with spiritual and health benefits, is the appealing factor that adds to the likability of this tattoo even further.

For best results, one must always place a Hawaiian Polynesian tattoo in sizable locations, such as the thighs, chest, and entire bicep.

Polynesian Bird Tattoo

Polynesian Bird Tattoo


Birds are big in Polynesian culture, with ties that typically reflect the importance of family. The Polynesian symbol of a bird typically features a pair of them, which typically stands for the union of two families.

A Polynesian bird tattoo is a great option for minimalists, but ideal for those that are big on family values. The component is also quite compatible with other designs, making it easy to expand the design at any time.

Polynesian Lion Tattoo

Polynesian Lion Tattoo


Having strength and resilience were two requirements that Polynesian people needed to survive and protect their loved ones back in the day. And while they were often rewarded with all sorts of artwork once they carried out each task successfully, one can easily pay homage to them with a Polynesian lion tattoo, featuring the facial features of a lion on the right side of the illustration.

Polynesian Octopus Tattoo

Polynesian Octopus Tattoo


The symbol of an octopus is mostly associated with fearlessness in Polynesia, making it quite popular in the culture. Those wearing Polynesian octopus tattoos often obtain the design to overcome adversity and hardship in life.

Additionally, for the exoskeleton of the octopus, a Polynesian octopus tattoo is a two-in-one kind of deal. And although Polynesian tattoos are mostly placed on the chest, this variant looks best when positioned on the shoulder blade.

Polynesian Wrist Tattoo

Polynesian Wrist Tattoo


Another form of Polynesian tattoo that lacks size and looks quite subtle is a Polynesian wrist tattoo, comprising mostly just one symbol. The tattoo is easy to install, making it a compelling option for newbies and beginners.

While a Polynesian tattoo looks quite substantial when placed on the wrist, one can trim the size from each side to enable the artwork to look comfortable and proportionate.

Female Polynesian Tattoo

Female Polynesian Tattoo


Although most of the former options typically apply to men, female Polynesian tattoos do exist as well.

As opposed to Polynesian tattoos for males, the variants for females are much more delicate, complex, and compact.

The meaning most designs carry is on the same page as the designs that were curated for men. However, the designs for women were, and still are, known for being the better option in terms of appeal.

Polynesian tattoos are mostly placed at the bottom half of a female’s body, preferably around the thighs. However, for displaying smaller variants, the forearms, ankles, and shin are known for being the top picks. In certain cases, the collarbone is also considered a compelling area for placement.

Polynesian Tattoos: Providing Visuals For A Better Understanding

While the success rate of Polynesian tattoos is higher than that of any other design, having an idea of what the visuals may look like will be more beneficial than it seems. However, if you don’t have enough time for typing the terms in on the search bar, consider giving this video a watch!

Frequently Asked Questions

Relieving all queries regarding the cost, procedure and pain level of installing a Polynesian tattoo can also be beneficial if you’d like to play it safe. And if you haven’t tackled the formerly-mentioned components yet, read through the following questionnaire.

Q: How much do Polynesian tattoos cost?

Ans: On average, Polynesian tattoos can cost around $500. This is mainly due to the multiple components that most designs have, which often take tons of time to construct due to being intricate and complex.

Q: Do Polynesian tattoos fade easily?

Ans: When installed using a tattooing needle, Polynesian tattoos may require multiple touch-ups to stay sound. However, if you do take the traditional approach, your Polynesian tattoo will stay fresh until eternity, even when your skin becomes wrinkled and dry!

Q: How painful are Polynesian tattoos?

Ans: Polynesian tattoos are a delight to wear, but they come with a brutal procedure. While smaller concepts are relatively lenient in terms of pain, larger installments take weeks, even months to finish, which can be gut-wrenching if a traditional needle is used.

Bottom Line

In retrospect, Polynesian tattoos aren’t the easiest tattoos to add to your body. However, for the volume of messages they portray, and the way in which it enables Polynesian people to pay homage to their ancestors, it’s safe to say that Polynesian tattoos are some of the best kinds of body modifications out there.

In addition to coming in all sizes, Polynesian tattoos give the users tons of freedom when creating the draft, preferably with an endless list of Polynesian symbols. The emblems aren’t just flexible, but also have spiritual powers that can change one’s life for the better.

While these tattoos initially catered to people from one heritage, Polynesian tattoos can now be used for obtaining peace and stability in one’s life, that too without stirring up any controversy. Therefore, if you do fancy one of the formerly mentioned designs, don’t forget to visit your tattoo artist!

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