When Mataora, a young warrior, fell in love with Niwareka, the princess of the underworld, she agreed to come aboveground to marry him. When he mistreated her, however, Niwareka went back to her father’s kingdom.
Eventually, sick with guilt and with his face paint smudged, Mataora made his way down to the underworld to try to win her back. He succeeded, and Niwareka’s father taught him the art of Maori tribe tattooing as well! Mataora brought ta moko – Maori tattoos – as well as other skills he had picked up in the underworld, back with him, and the ideas caught on.