In Polynesian tattoos, all symbols are literally based on four elements, such as water, earth, air, and fire.
While some individuals use their tattoos to show personal attachment to their tribes, others use body art as a form of spiritual protection. You will see visual representations that can symbolize birds, daggers, animals, humans, and various such things. The tattoo process is said to be spiritual, so each symbol calls for a ritual ceremony. If you are a warrior your tattoo will expand, probably with the symbolism of the four elements of water, earth, air and fire to guide you in your battle.
On the other hand, a non-warrior Polynesian can only have the tattoo that is relevant to the position or role of his own society. A farmer can be seen on a tattoo related to the symbol of the earth, while a fisherman can be seen on a tattoo inspired by a water element.