Ōtautahi Tattoo was founded in 2008 by me, Brad Cone, and Andre Simpson. We were both young aspiring tattoo artists looking for a clean, safe and enjoyable work environment, so we decided to create our own.
Blood, sweat and tears were put into developing an artistic hub in its infancy! The best part was, Ōtautahi Tattoo was born in my stomping grounds, in the local community in which I grew up in, Christchurch City Central.
*Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi best explains the history behind the beloved name Ōtautahi and the early history of the city. “The area now defined as Christchurch City was named as Tautahi’s special territory. The full name is Te Whenua o Te Potiki-Tautahi, this was later shortened to Ō Te Potiki Tautahiand then shortened further to the name we have today, Ōtautahi. “Tautahi”-The Legend Behind the Name: The name Tautahi can be traced back to ancient Hawaiki and the sailing from there of two chiefs in their great ocean-going waka Te Waka Orurea. The legend says that they landed somewhere on Horomaka (Bank’s Peninsula) near the outlet of Wairewa (Lake Forsyth). One of the chiefs Te Potiki-Tautahi (the only child), and his party landed here, while the other chief, Huruhuru Manu (birds feathers) continuedaround the coast to Westland. Ōtautahi was later settled by the British colonials who created Christchurch City, despite the Māori urging them to not build due to swamp like conditions.”
The team quickly grew to include R Koia, Mike Soklich, Steve Purtle, the ever amazing (and handsome) Jeremy Hill and Shaun Halbert Pere (my O.G day owners).
On the 4th of September 2010in the early hours of the morning, Christchurch was shaken to itscore by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. The quake ripped through and caused destruction to streets, buildings and different parts of the city (but most down for toppling everyone’s chimneys).
Miraculously, only two fatalities happening during this mammoth earthquake. Three days later it was back to business as usual at Ōtautahi Tattoo on137 Hereford Street, Christchurch. The street was blocked due to superficial earthquake damage so with the help of local police and the community we were able to escort all clients through the cordoned areas to the studio; we made it through!
Unfortunately for our beloved city, there were to be thousands of smaller aftershocks. Then, on the 11thof February 2011 at 12.51pm, Christchurch was again rocked by a shallow 6.3 magnitude earthquake, this time killing 185 people and injured several thousand others. Our shop was in the heart of the now deemed ‘Red Zone’, which in an uninhabitable area of businesses and homes. It was chaotic and frightening, but everyone in the shop was alive and safe –we were blessed.
After many days of recovery and mourning we came to the agreement that larger decisions of the future of the shop had to be made. I chose to relocate our business to Auckland, giving everyone in the shop the opportunity to participate in our new journey.
Tamaki Makaura, Mike Sokolich, Jeremy Hill, Shaun Halbert Pere, Sam Alpe, Brock Aidow and I made the choice to restart –the choice that would change our lives forever.
Murray Rose (who is still our current landlord) leased us our shop on 155 Karangahape Road in the City of Sails. He was empathetic to our situation and gave us a generous price reduction to help us become established! We were at home in the ever-renowned artistic community of K Road! On a side note, we want to give a special thanks to Adam Craft for welcoming us with open arm sand his kindness as we were earthquake refugees. The shop was busy with 9 stations humming, filled with blaring music, laughing, singing, Sal’s Pizza and of course great art being created! K Road was a vibe with Burlesque shows, Whammy Bar, Neck of the Woods, St. Kevin’s Arcade, and the small but beautiful Meyers Park.
As the Ōtautahi Tattoo shop in Auckland, we love it there. With our dream team managed by Brian Sikemunce, we offer the best tattoo work and experience in Auckland CBD. A few years after our migration, we went on an exciting staff holiday to Queenstown. It was there that Jeremy Hill and myself fell in love with the small tourist town. We started to dream about mountain biking to work, snowboarding every other day, or party every single night(if you were that way inclined) combined with the breathtaking Remarkable mountain ranges and cool deep waters of the Whakatipu; it became a need to open a shop there, rather than a want.
Within a blink of an eye, Ōtautahi Tattoo at 45 Camp Street, Queenstown was born and in full swing, operating in New Zealand’s adventure capital. Established in 2013with the leadership of Jeremy Hill, he and his skilled and sexy team are still rocking the spot to this day!
Queenstown is the home of A.J. Hackett, the third largest lake in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and of course the ‘Money’ Shot drink. Ride the bull at Cowboys, have a few jugs at the Red Rock Café and Bar, ride the Gondola for the spectacular views, and ride the luge down with friends and family. Queenstown boasts a huge number of adventures and activities with a buzzing night life and restaurants for all the foodies out there.
After helping set up the business in Queenstown, I became homesick by being back in the South Island and felt the pull of my home city. After establishing two shops I decided it was time to head back to the flat lands!
After having a temporary setting on Riccarton Road (3 years), we have been drawn back to the heart of the Christchurch CBD. Right beside the Avon River (Ōtākaro), it feels like we are nestled in beside the main vein of the city. With the ever-vibrant Riverside Market, and amazing retail shops and restaurants, we are back and tattooing in Christchurch City where Ōtautahi Tattoo began.
We are not a franchise, but we are a massive team. Ōtautahi Tattoo caters to artists and customers alike, with people traveling from all over the world to get the extremely high-quality custom work we offer and guest artists coming to spot in our upbeat shops. Ōtautahi Tattoo has now been operating since 2008 and has stood the test of time and proven its place within the tattoo, tatau, tā moko, and artistic communities.
All our shops and equipment go above and beyond the New Zealand Tattoo Guidelines and are regularly serviced and cleaned to the highest degree with certified cleaning agents. If you have any questions on our sterilisation process or our equipment, please feel free to email us or call us, we would love to show you through our processes.
Our inks, needles, and tools are all top-of-the-line brands from amazing companies such as Eternal Tattoo Ink, Dynamic Black Tattoo Ink, Starbrite Colours, Intenze Tattoo Ink, Fusion Tattoo Inks, Work Horse Irons, Dan Kubin Tattoo Machines, Protat Supplies, Dragon Hawk, Cheyenne Tattoo Machines, Inkjecta, Soku Tattoo Supplies, Black Claw, Kwadron, and many more. If you have any questions at all about how our shop works or you just want to say hi, flick us an email, give us a ring, or simply pop in one of our shops, we would love to meet you! Hopefully see you for your next awesome tattoo!
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