[ HAWAII'S SCHOOLS ]
Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their high school. Today's school: Baldwin High
COURTESY OF BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL
Senior Kaulana Apo-Kaonohi's right arm is tattooed with Hawaiian motifs
Marked with pride
Once looked down upon, tattoos have gained status as art
It seems like more and more people are getting them these days. Whether they're colored, patterned or names, tattoos seem to be popping up everywhere. Once looked at negatively in the past, tattoos are now becoming the coolest art to ink on our bodies. But why do so many people get them anyway?
BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL
Address: 1650 Kaahumanu Ave., Wailuku, HI 96793
Principal: Natalie Gonsalves
Colors: Maroon and blue
About the school's newspaper:
Name: Baldwin Courier
Faculty adviser: Linda Coleon
"I got mine in memory of my friends, and so I just poked it on there by myself," senior Mike Kanada explained about the tattoo on his left arm.
Senior Kianna Kekona wanted to be the first in her family to represent her aumakua from her mother's side. Many tattoos have special meanings. Some choose to have a tattoo to remember a loved one or a place that has had an important impact on their lives. Some want tattoos that reflect their cultural heritage.
Senior Kaulana Apo-Kaonohi has a tattoo with Hawaiian motifs on his right arm. With tattoos being so popular, Apo-Kaonohi felt that he also wanted to have some tattoos.
One of the most popular types of tattoo on campus are tribal designs that originated in Polynesia and surrounding islands. Because Polynesians had no writing in their culture, tattoos on their bodies told their story. Mostly men were tattooed but some women also had them.
Tattoos indicated social status, genealogy and personal achievements. The ritual of getting a tattoo was considered extremely spiritual. Using sharp tools made of bone or wood, Polynesians tapped sharp points dipped in a mixture of ashes and water or oil.
When the missionaries came and banned tattooing, it almost died until the Polynesians practiced it once again. Many symbols and patterns of Polynesian tattoos have survived until today, even though tattoos are created with mechanic needle guns instead of the traditional way. Today, tattoos have become the new outlet for expressing one's identity or pride in their culture.
Although a person must be 18 to get a tattoo, some students obtain parental permission at an earlier age. The most common areas for tattooing include the arms, legs, chest or back. Prices for a tattoo depend on the size, color and intricacy of the tattoo. There are about 20 tattoo shops on Maui that will ink tattoos.