top of page

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 three tattoo artists with the combined experience of almost 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.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook


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 correct artist's account and use the name you're booked in with as reference only.  Account details for online deposits are:

Aaron & Kyah's Deposit Details:
Aaron Manuel Artist
Ref: your name

Emily's Deposit Details:
EMC Art & Design
Ref: your name

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 three 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
Kyah's rate is $150 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, 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 three 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.



Kyah is 20yrs 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 completed a Level 4 Certificate in 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.

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.



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.




  • Instagram


  • Instagram


  • Instagram


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)