Last weekend's Tattoo Hui was the first of its kind in Rotorua. Caroline Fleming's story "Proud cultural traditions set in ink", on February 10, described the inaugural event as attracting the "best of the best" in the business.
Held between February 7 and 9 at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre, the event attracted hundreds of visitors from around New Zealand and overseas.
Next month Tauranga is hosting the Tattoo and Art Extravaganza in Mount Maunganui on March 14 and 15.
So it's no wonder many curious locals are heading along to check out these events for themselves.
I went and checked it out on Friday and I must admit it's fast becoming one of my favourite places to people-watch - at a tattoo convention.
There are so many diverse kinds of people, who all come together over one commonality.
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Whether tattoos are culturally significant, hand-carved into the skin, in ceremoniously sacred sessions, or tapped out with the latest tattoo gun, the results are still the same.
A precious taonga mapped out on to the skin, holding memories and meanings special to each individual wearing them.
Some people plan tattoos the way you would plan for buying a piece of art for a wall.
They carefully choose a design, symbolically select an area of the body and then go through with the process with a trusted tattooist.
Tattooists become celebrities to their followers with people travelling all around the world to get tattooed by their favourite artists.
Others are just there for their next tattoo fix, choosing a flash design at random and finding a rare uninked spot on their body to squeeze it in.
Tattoos are addictive at times.
They are still a taboo subject for some, for others, it is a creative way to express themselves with a display of art, stories or connections, merely using their bodies as the canvas.
It was fantastic to see the Rotorua Tattoo Hui, having cultural points of difference, by showcasing our Māori culture as part of the event, taiaha performances, bone carving demonstrations and even a dance battle competition.
The Mount Maunganui event boasts that it will celebrate "culture, whānau, good vibes, contemporary and indigenous arts" in an environment that is inclusive and supportive of its artists and attendees.
I consider myself a tattoo snob. I love tattoos, but they need to be outstanding pieces of artwork and most of the time, they need to have a significant meaning of some sort.
There are some pretty terrible tattoos out there, adorning the worst possible placement areas such as faces, heads, fingers and necks.
Sometimes I like a tattoo in one of those spots, depending on what it is. For example, a Māori Tā Moko looks beautiful on a face, but random words tattooed in prison just don't work for me.
I like ones that can be hidden at times, depending on the environment and occasion I am attending.
Don't get me wrong, each to their own but like most things in my opinionated realm, there is a time and a place for appropriate tattoos.
I have a few tattoos that I have collected over the past 10 years after starting my tattoo journey at 26. One of the things I tell my children is that they can't get tattoos until they are over 25.
Unless the tattoo is of significant cultural relevance, I'm not sure you will like the same things at 18 as you might when you are a bit older.
My children are unaffected by tattoos, barely noticing when someone has any and not judging or staring because someone looks different. To them, their mother and father have tattoos and that's just normal.
My sleeve tells a special story of my heritage, my family, significant happenings and things that are of importance to me.
Just like my emotions are worn on my sleeve, so is my life story, through a colourful journey of beautiful ink and art, that I have trusted a good friend to design and tattoo.
Older generations still struggle with the increase of people with tattoos.
Do we judge doctors, teachers, lawyers and other professionals if we can see ink on their skin?
Does it make them less professional or inept at their job because of the artwork they proudly wear?
Should it matter? Should we accept cultural tattoos as acceptable on one person, but the random inking of a dragon strange on another?
Our community around us is diverse in ethnicities, choices, fashion and beliefs.
To me having tattoos is just another way people can express themselves and their beliefs or ideas on their skin.
Does having a tattoo make you a bad person? Or does judging a person with a tattoo make you the one with the preconceived ideas before even knowing them in person?
People get tattoos for a myriad of reasons.
Some are for healing, for remembering and for freedom of expression and cultural connection.
Just remember underneath every tattoo is still a person: One with feelings, attitudes, beliefs and stories that may not differ too much from your own.
So before you judge someone for their ink, just smile, be accepting and walk on by if it's not your thing.
For others, I'll see you next month at the Mount Maunganui Tattoo and Art Extravaganza.