26 Jaw Dropping Hawaiian Tattoo Designs

Hawaiian tattoos now a days are getting very popular. Hawaiian tattoos basically, resemble the deep culture of Hawaiian Islands and heritage through different symbols and elements associated to the beautiful culture of Hawaii. That is why all men and women that wear these tattoos associate themselves deeply with those cultures.


In ancient times, Hawaiians referred the art of tattooing as “kakau”. Tattooing for people at those times was a way to express their bravery because of the painful method by which it was done. Traditionally, Hawaiian tattoo was done only in black colour. For this, the skin of the person had to be cut open and tattoo ink made up of ash and soot was poured in the cut. Then, the ash and soot were allowed to get dry so that the ink pigment may turn black.

  1. This traditional Hawaiian style tattoo is a great example of what this style of tattooing is all about. Big, black and artistic. The design almost acts as a badge of honor or that it tells a story in itself. The solid black lines and the flow of the whole thing give you the knowledge that this tattoo was most likely very painful but well worth it.

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But with the influence of Western culture, Hawaiian tattoos began to gain colour and each design started getting an exotic touch. But traditionally, the designs used to revolve around geometric patterns and symmetric designs, that too in black ink.

The style followed by Hawaiians and Maori culture was the same. Although, men and women both used to get those painful tattoos inked on their skin but men usually outnumbered the women. Some of them used to cover their entire body from head to toe with tattoo. But each tattoo held a deep meaning within itself and depicted a great story for its emergence. One could understand the whole story of a person’s life by reading his tattoos. Although full body tattooing was not meant for women, but still they had their fair share of them. The best thing about these tattoos was its symbolic nature.

2. This tattoo flows across the chest of this man effortlessly. The detail within this tribal tattoo is captivating and perfectly placed. Even the parts of this tattoo that are more simple and less detailed like the pieces of his right side are eye catching. The negative space on this chest piece is used very well and

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As Hawaiian tattoos possess deep meaning in themselves, they are worn by many men and women to represent the Hawaiian tradition and heritage. These tattoos can depict the whole history of the great Hawaiian culture and portray a specific island or the state of Hawaii. They are as a symbol of respect for their ancient cultural heritage.


Hawaiian tattoo designs symbolize religious devotion, rites , bravery, status, ranks and heritage. There are a variety of symbols used in Hawaiian tattoos that possess different meanings. Some of them are:


One of the most popular design in Hawaiian tattoo is that of the Gecko, which is believed to have supernatural powers. It is a conception that the green gecko brings illness and bad fortune to whomever it comes in contact with.

3. What I love about this tattoo is that not only is it a gecko, but its also a beautiful tribal design at the same time. The brilliance of this Hawaiian tribal gecko not having an outline is a really cool idea. A very clever idea to add to this tattoo is that every limb of the gecko is a different style. the legs and arms are both different designs of tribal beauty.

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As per the fact, sharks resemble a powerful creature and are considered sacred. It is a symbol of protection to the wearer.


4. This person is definitely going to protected from ever getting made fun of ever again. This tattoo is fierce, ferocious, and bad ass. The shark has a great flow and a great sense of movement. The dorsal fin was done really well and it wasn’t lost in the midst of the rest of the shark. Its also a really cool idea to have the shark start on the back and make its way across and onto the arm.

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Supposed to be the first human being, The Tiki is called a mythical ancestor of humans and has the superpower to smell danger.

5. this tattoo is fun, detailed, and well done. This shows what looks like an older man guessing from the body dressing up in traditional Hawaiian attire and taking on a whole other aura. The oversized mask is very well illustrated but also gives this tattoo a sense of humor by the size of it. The grass skirt, shield, and spear show that this guy is ready for whatever is coming his way.




We all are well aware of the fact that during ancient times, shells were used as a form of currency. So, they resemble prosperity and wealth.


6. this simple yet beautiful tattoo was very well done. the detail within each yellow block and the way that the tattoo goes onto the chest, then onto the arm, then onto the back, and then finish off by coming over the shoulder is an interesting idea. I wonder if this tattoo looks odd when this man’s arm isn’t at his side, would the tattoo look broken or incomplete?



Due to its long life span, sea turtle symbolizes long life and also fertility.


7.The person that has this tattoo is going to living a long time with a really well done tattoo. The symmetrical bottom legs and top legs give this turtle consistency but also individuality at the same time. if you look closely within the shell you can see an overjoyed face of some sort. the shut squinting eyes and the clever grin help us to assume that this face is very content with where he or she is,

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This beautiful native flower is a symbol of love, beauty, luxury and magnificence. People with unique, free-spirited and mysterious nature, should go for Orchid tattoo.


8. The way that this orchid perfectly flows down this woman’s arm is amazing. The way that the color is popping out of the flower tattoo causes you to instantly be drawn to it. The perfectly placed yellows and shading create the feeling that this flower real enough to touch and pluck its peddles. the transition down the arm gives this tattoo two personalities.


One of the most popular design, Hibiscus flower symbolizes delicate beauty because it is fragile and has short life. It is considered to associate well with summer and fun.


9. the line work on this tattoo is very clean and very well done. You can tell that this tattoo artist definitely knows what he or she is doing. The slight reds in the middle of the flower and the way that they oranges and yellows dance within the flower bring this tattoo to life. This tattoo is simple at first glance but the more you look at it, the more you begin to appreciate it.

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10. This classic traditional American style tattoo of a Hawaiian woman adds culture, flare, and style all on one piece. everything from the hair to the flowers was perfectly executed.



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11. This is a cool mix of the Hawaiian style of tribal tattooing and an Asian flare with the classic power symbol; the dragon.

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12. another sweet and simple tribal turtle. I love how the shell is in the shape of a heart. You may not notice it at fist, but once you it makes you like this tattoo even more.

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13. the dark and solid black that makes up this Hawaiian turtle really compliments the flowers that its surrounded by. Both elements of this tattoo bring attention to the other.

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14. this is an awesome and well done classic tribal half sleeve. The solid blacks, hints of reds and symmetrical shapes force you to appreciate the beauty and subtle complexity of this tattoo.




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15. This jellyfish tattoo is very unique and original. These two majestic sea creatures are creating movement and flow to thus whole tattoo. I love that this one was done in black and greys rather than choosing bright colors that are typically attributed to jellyfish.


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16. it doesn’t get any more original than this. This is the classic Hawaiian tribal style of tattooing. I would be surprised if this person was full Samoan.



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17. This rib piece would have been painful but we can clearly see that the outcome was well worth the pain. Its a very original idea to have the tribal and the flowers weaving and intertwining like that.



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18. Representing the Hawaiian islands in a simple and beautiful way. This tattoo is simple but shows the heart of the person that is wearing this ink on their back.



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19. this is one bad ass looking hammer head shark. the artist did a great job of giving this tattoo movement and dimension. The tattoo artist could have taken the easy way out, but he or she decided to make this tattoo look like its popping off the skin. hawaiian tattoo (20)


20. All the way down the spine takes guts, and this girl has them. This tribal piece is very done. with a turtle hiding in the center of two unique triangles. It shows originality and beauty.




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21.  It is always cool to see a mix of tribal tattoo in flower tattoo in one. The black tribal really brings out the bright pinks, oranges, and yellows in the flower. The line work with in the flower, is very well detailed and makes the petals look real. The leaves really make a complement to the flowers and the tribal part of the tattoo.



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22.  This little lizard is fun, entertaining, and simple. The green really stands out in the little tongue sticking out adds character to this little guy. You can see the smile on this lizards face and the hint of light blue within the tail is a good touch. I love the way that the yellow is mixed in with the green within the body of the lizard and how this tattoo almost looks like a child through it. This could be a tribute to somebody’s son or daughter.



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23. A tribal Hawaiian tattoo mixed with a lobster is rarely seen. You often times see a turtle, shark, or even a lizard, but you rarely see a lobster. The tribal work on this tattoo is very well done and its impressive. The way that the antennas of this lobster are underneath and backwards, you can assume that this guy is in movement. The claws the look fierce and this delicious creature is given some incredible life. This makes me want to go and get a lobster tattoo myself.



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24. I like how an average fish hook was made to look like it was ready to kill or catch the most deadly animals in the sea. The consistent shapes within the hook are breath taking and the shading would impress even the biggest tattoo critic. The claws or blades on the outside of this hook would strike fear and cause damage to anything that it caught. All I know is that I would not want to get near this hook. I think the canvas and tattoo artist made a good decision in keeping this tattoo strictly black and grey.





25. This giant piece would have taken multiple sessions. I love how this sun is portrayed and how each ray coming off of it is a different design. I wonder if each of them symbolizes something. I like how the rays are smaller at the top of the back and how they get longer as they go down the back. The symmetry within the actual sun would impress anyone. The filler within rays and the tattoo force you to be impressed with this large back piece.





26. What an impressive tattoo to finish off this blog with. I have seen a multitude of turtle tattoos and wide range of Hawaiian tribal tattoos, but this combination of both trumps all of them. The sharp head of the turtle and the sleek limbs create a unique image. The way that the tribal part of this tattoo and the turtle mesh so smoothly together is breath taking. What impresses me about this tattoo the most is the shell of the turtle. The hints of turquoise that create a shine and the flare of red really draw your eyes in. The geometrical shapes at the bottom of the shell give it a whole new level of complexity.




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  1. This is incredibly inaccurate. You need to remove the “Hawaiian” descriptor from this completely. Hibiscus is not even native to Hawai’i! These designs aren’t traditional Hawaiian at all.

    • I find it sad. People are inking themselves all over there face, down the neck, shoulder and arms. Nice people or doing this to themselves and I think it is going to limit there opportunities and it makes them look like more like a freakish tattoo white guy more more than a 21st century Hawaiian.

      • It’s tradition! So get over it. If you don’t like it, deal with it. Our people have been doing tatau for hundreds of years, not the kind they display but that’s besides the matter.

        • I like Hawaii very much and i`m happy that the tradition is put up high! Hula-dance yes, tatau no? Which tipe of trash is that!! I can`t understand people who do so.Thanks that you stay with your tradition-I pray more people like you have influence to our Kids.Family and tradition are our basic from where we start growing and expanding into the world.

      • The reason this people are getting them Is probably because they’re either Polynesian or Hawaiian And want to have tattoos are present that. Also many people in ancient Hawaii and Polynesia got tattoos that look very similar like these Shown

    • Actually…double check your facts. The hibiscus has 2 species indigenous to Hawaii. Not that the hibiscus is something ancient Hawaiians tattooed themselves with anyway.

  2. Keala has a good point. Historical Hawaiian Art and Culture are different than modern Hawaiian Pop-Culture Art and Tattoos. Too few folks open books and read up on Hawaii’s really wonderful and exciting history, and mythology (which is just as lavish & exciting as Greek mythology, which we all seem to know, but, Hawaiian mythology? Hmmm… No one talks about? We should! Obviously people are interested! They are starving to know… tattooing their bodies… we should learn: know who, what, when , where, and why…about it. We are missing out people!) We are missing out on one of the best and most interesting cultures on earth ( let alone with-in the United States. ) There seems to be fear about talking about Hawaiian culture and history. We don’t have to get into deep political arguments. The United States concurred Hawaii. Said and done. Now let’s talk about the rich culture and art we don’t want to fade away, but enjoy, preserve, learn about, and even be inspired by to create new modern Hawaiian pop-Art Tattoos. Just tell people what it is. It’s OK to be a little educational, and show real traditional deigns, label them. Also show modern designs. Hawaii didn’t die. It wasn’t destroyed. It’s still here and a great place for making new art. It’s inspiring new artists all the time. There’s an extremely rich treasure of ancient Hawaiian culture, myth and Art, to learn about, and also lots of new art to see and experence. Yeah, it’s a bit of work, but it’s interesting work, and worth it! Perhaps, to make folks know what they are seeing, this site could be called “Hawaiian Pop-Culture Tattoo designs”. Put up a link to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu for further research …for those interested?

  3. I’ve been to Hawai’i & Maui & I’ve talked to so many locals! Tattoos doesn’t make a person, the heart does! They are the most polite,family oriented people I’ve ever met! Just because they take beliefs serious in the culture, doesn’t make them bad influences on children! In fact, they care about the children of that culture more than anyone I’ve met in the states! They are wonderful people & if those who haven’t been there,talk to them, or know anything about them, keep comments to yourself till you experience who they are!


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