Welcome to
Visual Intelligence

Originally established in Dunedin in 2004, Visual Intelligence is a boutique-style tattoo studio, formerly of Mount Maunganui, now based in beautiful Pāpāmoa. We have four tattoo artists with the combined experience of 50 years.  We specialise in all styles of tattooing and offer a friendly, professional and personalised service, together with high quality artwork, in a comfortable and relaxed environment. Hygiene and sterility are of the utmost importance to us and we pride ourselves in our studio’s excellent health and safety practices.


If you require high quality, custom tattoo art, please contact our studio to arrange a consultation or call in to see us.  You can also find us on Instagram and our Facebook page.

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Once a booking has been made, we require a $100 deposit to be paid to secure your booking, and before any design work commences.  This deposit will be deducted from the total cost of your tattoo on the day.  If you require multiple sessions, the deposit will be carried over until the last session. We will only accept ONE DEPOSIT per person - do not make multiple deposits.  Please also make sure you deposit into the artist's account you are booked in with.  Account details for online deposits are:

Aaron & Kyah's Deposit Details:
Visual Intelligence
Ref: your name/appt date

Ben's Deposit Details:
Ben Waldron
Ref: your name/appt date

Emily's Deposit Details:
Emily Hansom Tattoo
Ref: your name/appt date

If, for any reason, you need to cancel your booking, you must give at least 72hrs notice in order for your deposit to be refunded.  This is in consideration of our artists who need time to fill the space.  We understand that unforeseen circumstances can arise whereby 72hrs notice cannot be given due to sickness etc.  In this instance, the deposit can be transferred to a new appointment time.  Any last minute cancellations or no-shows will forfeit the deposit - the artist will have more than likely spent time designing for you and this payment will go directly to them.

Please wait patiently for replies to your email or Facebook enquiry.  We receive a large amount of enquiries every day and I reply in order I receive them which may take several days.  Please do not message via multiple platforms as this won't get you a faster response.

If you're wanting large work which requires multiple sessions, it's best to book multiple sessions up front to avoid a large wait between appointments.  We may even book one or two more than necessary, just in case - it's always easier to cancel a booking than to try and find one within a few months.



There are many factors that determine the time a tattoo takes and therefore the price of a tattoo, some of which are:
- Design, style and detail
- Realism / simplistic
- Black and grey / colour
- Size
- Placement
- Skin type
- Pain threshold
- Overall tattoo time

When asking for a "quote" we can never be exact as our prices are based on the artist's hourly rate.  We can sometimes give an "estimate" based on all the information given, however it's difficult to estimate large work as many factors play a part in the time a larger piece takes to tattoo.  The tattoo session will be calculated per hour based on the artist's rate.  We cannot price tattoos over the phone - your idea of "medium" and our idea of medium are usually two completely different sizes.

We have four artists, all of whom charge at their own hourly rate and in accordance with experience, knowledge, skill and speed.

Aaron's rate is $250 per hour, with a day rate of $1,400.00 
Emily's rate is $200 per hour, with a day rate of $1,200.00
Ben's rate is $200 per hour, with a day rate of $1,200.00
Kyah, our apprentice, is $100 per hour

We don't charge for a reasonable amount of designing, and no design work will commence unless the deposit has been paid.  We have a studio minimum of $100 ($80 with Kyah) regardless of size - the cost and time it takes to set up is the same for both a 7min tattoo or a 7hr tattoo.  If you can get your tattoo cheaper elsewhere, then that's great :) 

There is no charge for consultations.





Macaela is the studio manager who also manages all four artists' diaries/schedules and ensures the shop runs smoothly, efficiently and professionally for both the artists and their clients.  She is your first port-of-call for all general enquiries for tattoo requests and artwork commissions, and she will also make sure you are booked in with the most suitable artist for your particular piece of art.  A self-taught artist,  and with an eye for colour, Macaela loves painting in oils and especially loves to paint large scale pieces. She is drawn towards painting big, bold and beautiful florals, or textured abstract paintings, and is happy to take on commissioned pieces.  Contact Macaela at the studio for all enquiries.



Emily started tattooing in West London in 2003, and has since tattooed in London, Perth and Sydney, and then joined the Visual Intelligence team in 2018.  Her portfolio consists of many tattoo styles, however she particularly loves illustrative and neo traditional but is happy to do anything and everything.  She is your go-to for gorgeous fineline floral tattoos and creates beautiful pieces of art for her clients.  She's also an amazing painter, painting in oils, acrylics and watercolours.


Aaron started tattooing in 1997 and is self-taught.  He does any style of tattooing, including Ta Moko and Polynesian, and in particular large, custom work in black & grey or colour.  He especially loves doing large bold work and blackout/blackwork tattoos but is also happy doing smaller, fun pieces in any style.  He and his wife, Macaela, opened Visual Intelligence in Dunedin in 2004, relocating the studio to Mount Maunganui in 2015, and then to beautiful Pāpāmoa in 2021.  Aaron enjoys creating other forms of art and does amazing paintings using both acrylics and oils on canvas, and creates outdoor paintings using aerosol paint. He also carves beautiful custom Maori/Polynesian designs on skatedecks. He welcomes all commissions.


Ben started his tattoo career in 2016 when he moved from Dunedin and joined Visual Intelligence in Mount Maunganui as Aaron's apprentice.  He is skilled in all styles of tattooing, but particularly loves large colour and oriental designs but is happy taking on any style. Ben also enjoys  many other forms of art and does amazing paintings.  He's also a skilled airbrush artist and has airbrushed cars as well as producing many awesome airbrush portraits on both canvas and board.



Kyah is 19yrs old, the newest member of the V.I. crew, and has grown up around the studio his whole life. In his final year of Pāpāmoa College in 2020, he received the “Mana Toi Tāne Award” which is awarded to “the male student who represents their culture through the visual arts, with perseverance, commitment and pride”. Kyah has also just completed Level 4 Art & Design at Toi Ohomai, and has a passion for Māori and Japanese art. Kyah started his tattoo journey in July 2021 and is apprenticing under, and mentored by, Aaron.



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Hand-carved by Aaron Manuel

Each hand-carved deck is a unique, one-off custom design, and comes ready to hang.  A great gift for that person who has everything, or an awesome alternative to a 21st key.  Most decks pictured were commissioned pieces and have been sold.  All decks are inspired by Aaron's love for art, culture, skating and tattooing.  More commissions welcome. (Double click to enlarge pic)



Maori Skull2.jpg


It is important that you follow these after-care instructions, as it will give you the best results for your tattoo:


  1. If possible, try to get to a shower within two hours of being tattooed and remove plastic wrap. 

  2. Gently wash the tattooed area with either a tattoo wash or mild soap, then rinse.

  3. Slowly turn the heat up on your tattoo until it’s slightly hotter.  It will sting but get use to this heat then turn it up a little more.  This process will clean your tattoo and get rid of any blood or excess ink that has dried on the skin.

  4. Pat dry with a clean, dry towel and carefully apply a thin layer of aftercare recommended by your tattoo artist, gently patting away any excess with a clean paper towel and also wiping away aftercare from the skin surrounding your tattoo.  DO NOT smother your tattoo in aftercare, apply a thin layer only! 

  5. Before bed repeat cleaning instructions 2, 3 and 4, then again in the morning.  You may find that pj’s or sheets may have stuck to your tattoo during the night – be careful when pulling off!

  6. If you need to cover your tattoo for any reason, i.e. work, unhygienic environment etc, wrap tattoo with plastic wrap and tape the ends with medical tape.  This wrap needs to be changed every 3-5hrs, washing tattoo between changes.  If in a clean environment, keep unwrapped to let it breathe.


~ Keep applying the aftercare until your tattoo is fully healed (generally 10-14 days).  You only need to apply the cream when your tattoo is looking dry, approx 3-4 times a day.  Always wash hands before and after applying aftercare product. 

~ A thin scab will form and will start to peel 4-6 days afterwards.  DO NOT pick or peel this off!  Removing the scab may pull ink out while it's trying to heal.

~ You may find that your tattoo can get quite itchy while it’s healing, DO NOT scratch your tattoo! 

~ DO NOT swim at the beach, swimming pool or soak in a bath or spa while it's trying to heal.  You may go swimming once it has fully healed (generally 10-14 days)

~ AVOID the sun on your fresh tattoo and ALWAYS use sunblock once your tattoo has healed.  The sun is the number one cause of tattoos fading!

 ~ And lastly, personal hygiene is a must!!!  Clean clothing next to your tattoo and showering every day is essential to the healing of your fresh tattoo.

We stock two brands of aftercare in our studio, Z Balm and After Art.  Ask your artist which aftercare is best for you.

After Art.jpg




Shop 6

80 Parton Road

Pāpāmoa 3118

Tel: 07 575 9682






Monday - Friday: 9am - 5:30pm
​​Saturdays by appt: 9am - 4:30pm
​Sunday: Closed