Dye used for moko - Levels 3 and 4
To understand that some of our ancestors discovered the life cycle of the vegetable caterpillar fungus and used the fungus as an ingredient of the ink to create a moko.
Other dyes have been developed by some of our ancestors. Traditionally, some iwi searched for the vegetable caterpillar fungus (āwheto) and used it as an ingredient of the ink to create a moko. Vegetable caterpillar fungus was heated over the fire to form a black charcoal. This was mixed with other ingredients such as muttonbird fat to form the ink that was etched into the skin. Vegetable caterpillar fungi also produce substances that prevent infection. This practice does not occur any more, but may explain why moko were such a rich black colour.
- Information on the vegetable caterpillar fungus: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/1435-vegetable-caterpillar