The Maori people of New Zealand, who are world famous for their tattooing, applied their wood carving technique to tattooing. In the moko style of Maori tattooing, shallow, colored grooves in distinctive, complex designs were produced on the face and buttocks by striking a small bone-cutting tool (used for shaping wood) into the skin. After the Europeans arrived in the 1700s, the Maori began using the metal that settlers brought for a more conventional style of puncture tattooing.
The Maori had a custom of preserving the heads of their tattooed leaders after death as precious family possessions. Over time, they began to trade some of the heads to collectors for firearms and iron tools. This practice, which is why there are some of these heads in European museums, was short-lived because of the fighting and political turmoil it caused.