Indigenous Ink Tattoo and Arts Festival 2015 Part 2

This was only the first time we visited Gordon at his shop the second time was with the gracious organizer extraordinaire of Indigenous Ink Terry Klavenes a Tongan tattoo artists who is working at bringing the motifs and designs from his Tongan heritage into his tattoo work.

Indigenous Ink 2015

Terry Klavenes Indigenous Ink 2015

During our second visit we happened to be there during the raising of Gordon’s new sign outside of his shop, which warranted an impromptu celebration that included some of New Zealand seafood. One of these “delicacies” is Kina, which are sea urchin eggs, I tried them once and that will be the only time I put these in my mouth. After trying a few of the things offered I thoroughly enjoyed my order of fish and chips.

Gordon Toi House of Natives Ta Moko

House of Natives

The whole time I was in New Zealand I was drooling over a beautiful tattoo machine hand crafted by House of Native artist Heeds. This machine has a Pounamu side plate and is beautiful; maybe this year 2016 I will pick it up. The artwork on the walls in the display cases and the tattoo portfolios of this shop speak volumes to the success and importance of the House of Natives.

Pounamu Tattoo Machine

Heeds Tattoo Machine

Terry and his family graciously offered their home for a group of international artists to stay at while in Auckland, including Elle, Charphil, Nahaan, Taku Oshima, and myself. It was the night before the Indigenous Ink event that I was introduced to Taku, Nahaan, Tihoti, and Haki Williams. It was humbling to sit and listen to the knowledge and wisdom of these masters of traditional tattooing originating from their respective countries and cultures.

Indigenous Ink 2015

The first day of the Indigenous Ink tattoo festival was absolutely breathtaking as we gathered in front of the Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae at the Manukau Institute of Technology and where called into marae with a pōwhiri which included a song and a ceremonial wero challenge from a Maori warrior which is done to check the intentions of the guests. Hawaiian cultural tattoo practitioner Keone Nunes was invited to take up the token which indicated our intentions of peace. After which we were welcomed into the marae and treated a full day of presentations from Keone Nunes, Maya Sialuk Jacobsen, Elle Festin, Nahaan, and Lawrence Ah ching.

Keone Nunes at MIT marae

Keone Nunes facing warrior

Maya is involved in the work of tattoo revival in the north with a project entitled Tupik Mi. Maya and her friend and partner in this project Holly Nordlum spoke about the challenges and joys of the work of revival that they are involved in. Keone spoke about his work in Hawaii and showcased many of the tattoos worn on the bodies of those who travelled with him. Lawrence shared about his concerns with health and safety associated with tattooing in general and in particular some of the innovations that he has developed for his tools. Innovations necessary for his inclusion in Western tattoo conventions. Nahaan shared with us his burden for the revival and decolonization of his people and Indigenous peoples internationally. The final presentation was delivered by Elle assisted by Charphil, in this presentation Elle took us on a journey which recounted his work in reviving tattoo tribals of the Philippines.

Presentations at Indigenous Ink

The next few days included the main portion of Indigenous Ink held at MIT Manukau.

Indigenous Ink 2015

Indigenous Ink 2015 Venue

Haki Williams

Haki Williams

Tihoti Tahiti Tattoo


Taku Oshima Black Addicts Tattooing

Taku Oshima

Pip Hartley Ta Moko Tattoo

Pip Hartley

Nahaan Tattooing at Indigenous Ink


Lawrence Ah Ching Samoan Tattooing

Lawrence Ah Ching

Keone Nunes Hawaiin Tattooing

Keone Nunes

Dion Kaszas Skin Stitch Tattooing

Dion Kaszas (Photo by Grant Apiata)

Elle Festin tattooing at Indigneous Ink

Elle Festin



This is not an extensive photo gallery of all the artists who attended but a small selection of photos that I have on hand. The following picture was taken of most of the participants on the final day of the event.

Indigenous Ink group photo

Stay tuned for the final installment of my time in New Zealand for the 2015 Indigenous Ink tattoo and arts festival. This will include some of the none Indigenous Ink tattooing events that took place while I was in New Zealand and the few days following the event and the road trip I took with Nahaan touring the North Island.

Nathan Road Tripping

Nahaan Road Trippin