It's New Zealand history in a way you've never seen it before.

Kiwi special effects artists Julian and Yolanda Bartram used Maori moko and tattoo designs and referenced European explorers in their entry to the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria at the end of July.

The husband and wife team, who own costume makeup store BODYFX in Morningside, are experts in special effects, painstakingly painting their subjects and transforming them with outlandish costumes.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

For this year's festival the pair painted burlesque performer Christopher Olwage, a prominent figure in Auckland's gay community.

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"Working with a professional performer is awesome as they can elevate your art to new heights," Yolanda said.

Olwage was transformed into a "cannabis bee" for the Utopia category and a "Dutch Lion with a Maori twist" in culture and tradition. Both entries made it into the top 10 for their categories at the festival, which featured artists from more than 50 countries.