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Trinity Ropiha gives teenage son traditional ta moko

Trinity Ropiha, who first appeared in the Weekly back in 2016, has given his teenage son a traditional Maori tattoo.

Trinity Ropiha
Trinity Ropiha

Trinity Ropiha, who first appeared in the Weekly back in 2016, has given his teenage son a traditional Maori tattoo this week, despite him being just 15-years-old.

The Rotorua local, who has six children ranging from teens down to toddlers, tattooed a ta moko onto his son Traye for his 15th birthday.

As a tattoo artist himself, Trinity performed the tattoo on his son, after Traye began bugging him from the age of 12.

"I've been in the industry long enough to know when someone is ready for a tattoo/ta moko... it's like when you know a kid is ready to swim, well I saw that in him,” Trinity told TVNZ.

"Over the years, Traye has grown up around ta moko because his uncles drew that sort of stuff but we finally decided he was mature enough for it."

Trinity drew the ta moko freehand, using a design that he and Traye had agreed on together.

With his whanau and media crew in the room, the pressure was on for father Trinity, as he spent hours over the process.

Speaking to reporters on the scene, Trinity said Traye’s role as the eldest child factored into the decision to give him the ta moko, as he has had to step up to a position of responsibility earlier than his siblings.

"We nailed the last line and he went beyond what he could've handled, we had a couple of man tears and gave each other a big hug and a hongi.”

“I am his son after all, and so getting it done by him is a little bit overwhelming,” Traye told Maori Television.

As Trinity explained, the tattoo was a decision they made “as a whanau…the ta moko for us is heritage.”

Solo dad Trinity spoke to New Zealand Woman's Weekly last year about being judged for his tattooed appearance, when in reality he is a dedicated single father of six.

“None of my tattoos are gang tattoos and I’ve never been to jail. But I always get looked at in that kind of way – in public and at government agencies. I don’t care about what people think. They don’t know me or know that I want nothing but the best for my children.”