If you want to get inked while travelling around New Zealand, Christchurch is a good place to do it. When selecting the right tattoo artist and studio to entrust with this life-changing commitment, you’ll have lots of great establishments at your disposal. We’ll get you started by showcasing the best parlours in this South Island city.
Left Hand Path Tattoos
Left Hand Path Tattoos is an independent studio that has been creating one-of-a-kind tattoos since 2002. Guest artists from around the world regularly make an appearance there, and the parlour’s creative resident tattooists — Andrew Swarbrick and Lara Higgs — have built a reputation for designing pieces that embrace all the best features in freehand surrealism (Andy’s specialist area) and realism (Lara’s expertise). Facebook is the best place to find out when the next guest artists are coming to visit.
Steve Johnson’s City of Ink Tattoo Studio
Steve Johnson’s City of Ink Tattoo Studio opened its doors in 2010, under the direction and watchful eye of its namesake artist. For those who aren’t familiar with his work, the late Steve Johnson had 40 years of experience under his belt before City of Ink came into fruition, and he gained notoriety for being among the most awarded artists in New Zealand. These days, the studio’s talented tattooists continue to carry out Johnson’s legacy (he sadly passed away after suffering from a stroke in 2011), specialising in various styles like black and grey, traditional Japanese, neo-traditional, Ta Moko, and realism, among many others.
Zealand Tattoo is all about the classics. Founder and owner Zane Swanston has more than two decades of experience under his belt, and has earned a strong reputation for his pioneering approach and workmanship when it comes to traditional Maori and Japanese tattoo art. Besides these two styles, Zealand Tattoo also focuses on ornamental conventions like Art Nouveau, as well as Samoan and Tongan designs.
Self-taught painter and tattooist Matt Parkin opened Soular Tattoo after spending more than 15 years inking in New Zealand, Australia and in the United Kingdom. Parkin and his team of artists specialise in portraits, geometric and dotwork shading, black and grey, colour, and neo-traditional styles. The studio is open seven days a week and can cater to late-night consults if you book in advance.
Doko Ink boasts a star-studded client list: Australia super model Ruby Rose is among them, as are a handful of famous rugby players from New Zealand and Tonga. In fact, people from all corners of New Zealand come to visit this parlour, which specialises in tribal, Polynesian and traditional Maori designs. The studio was established in 2008 and is run by brothers and expert tattooists Mana and Jed Fifita.
Absolution was originally established as a professional body piercing studio in 1996, and continued as such until it changed hands in 2004. That’s when tattooing was added to its repertoire; current owner Naith had been honing his skills in blackwork and minimalism since 1999 before taking over the studio. The parlour is currently housed in the Christchurch Arts Centre and has a team of five resident artists and a regular selection of visiting tattooists bringing a creative flair to this naturally creative setting.