Some of New Zealand's most colourful and creative works of body art were showcased in Tauranga over the weekend.

The NZ International Tattoo and Art Expo was held at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre to thousands of fans, tattoo enthusiasts and intrigued punters.

More than 150 tattoo artists from around the world took part, including artists who created tattoos by scalpel, inserted skin implants and pierced various body parts. Among the international artists was Horihide, an artist specialising in traditional Japanese tattooing called irezumi - a method of tattooing in which the artist uses hand poking to complete the tattoo.

Hamish Mabon-Ross came from Dunedin for the event.


"I'd never been to a convention before. It's quite fun," he said. Mr Mabon-Ross was yesterday in the process of getting his latest tattoo, after already gaining a gorilla tattoo on his chest on Saturday at the event. The two tatts follow several tattoos on Mr Mabon-Ross' arms which form two separate sleeves.

He said tattoos were addictive and explained his latest, a Japanese mask adorning the rear of his right leg, as "just really cool".

"I've always really liked Japanese art and culture. When I saw it I thought 'I have to have that'."

Stall holder Hannah Gross said the event was perfect for selling her handmade items of chain mail jewellery and clothing.

"I've been to a couple of tattoo shows and I really love them and I think the stuff I make would be of interest to the people who come. We do unique and different things, and the whole point of these shows is it's supposed to be alternative."