Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the Artists?
Our resident artist is Stormy Kara.
We also currently have 1 assisting apprentice.
From time to time we have guest artists in the studio.
How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment, fill out our “Make a booking” option on our website (recommended option).
This way, you will be in direct contact with our admin team. Avoid booking through social media platforms, like Facebook messenger, Instagram, etc.
Do I need to give you the design?
Not always. The majority of our work is designed freehand straight on to your skin.
Consultations and reference pictures will help to assist with the final design.
We do not copy designs drawn by other artists. You can bring in designs as references for us to gather inspiration but bringing in a design on a paper doesn’t always transfer to skin.
In most cases it can help us to narrow it down to the style that you like.
What style tattoos do you do?
We specialize in Tātatau and Tāmoko. Other styles of tattoo are done depending on what you are looking at getting; I.e. Lettering, illustration, minimalist.
We do not tattoo Faces (Unless for cultural reasons) genitalia, hyperrealist styles or anything gang affiliated.
Do you only do Polynesian designs?
No- although our Artist focuses on Cook Islands Tātatau and Tāmoko; we offer a range of other styles as well.
What is the age limit?
Though there are no current legal age limit in the Cook Islands, we take our role as Artists and Parents very seriously.
18+ is recommended- anyone younger will need adult consent. A consultation around the discussion of what you are wanting and why is recommended.
The final decision will ultimately be made by our Artist.
Before allowing younger persons to get tattooed, we always advise to think forward too and if it will be a hinderance on future employment or Cultural sensitivities within the family.
Do you do walk ins?
The short answer is Yes- but it will depend on whether the time is available or not.
There may be the off chance we have time to do it on the spot, but we would recommend locking in a booking.
How early do I need to book?
We usually don’t take bookings more than a couple months ahead of time. 1-2 months before is a safe time to make contact before the date you are looking to book for.
However, if you are enquiring for our Artist to travel to work on site, or convention, or Mokopapa; we advise you book as earliest as possible.
How much do you charge?
This will largely depend on the size and complexity of the piece you’re enquiring about.
For instance, if you wanted a sleeve, an arm could come in many different sizes. Some may take a single session, while others may take multiple sessions to complete.
Our minimum charge is $150, with the exception being made for pieces off the flash board in studio or apprentice pieces.
Where is the studio?
Kareha Polynesian Art studio is located in Panama/Nikao village in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
We are on the main road near the airport between Ocean fresh and Techtro.
Are tattoos safe?
Our Tattoos are applied by a sterile needle/cluster or needles.
In our studio we use modern tattoo machines. Fully wireless, covered and sterilized for each session.
Our needles come in single use cartridges and our artist is always more than willing to step you through our processes.
All needles should be opened in front of you.
We do our best to ensure a clean and safe environment.
Aftercare is then in the clients hands and where the majority of infections can occur.
If you have any allergies please let our Artist know. Some people have been known to react to certain coloured inks or latex gloves.
Does it hurt?
Yes, though this is the most commonly asked question. The more accurate question is how much will it hurt?
Take into consideration that tattoos work by a needle puncturing the skin, the pain experienced by a tattoo can vary because of many factors.
Where is it on the body? How big is it? How long will it take? Has the person got a high or low tolerance to pain?
All tattoos hurt, but certainly depends on your personal pain tolerance.
Can I use numbing cream?
We do not currently offer numbing cream, but if you are planning on using it, please let us know as we may be able to assist with recommendations.
What tattoo should I get?
Funny enough, this is a question we get quite a lot.
If it’s not advice based on cultural reasons I suppose I can only advise to a certain degree.
Instead think first about what you are wanting your tattoo to mean to you, if you have any restrictions due to work or cultural reasons or the budget you are wanting to stick to.
Typically we’ve just met you, not everyone wants a full sleeve and not everyone wants to keep it hidden. If you have an idea yourself we can help to advise.
When is the best time to get a tattoo?
If you are visiting Rarotonga, we recommend booking towards the end of your trip. We advise not to go swimming in the sea water, or into direct sunlight and sweating; as these could effect the healing of your tattoo.
How do I look after it?
Our recommendation is always to treat it like a wound. Keep it clean, fresh water and pure soap is fine. Do not use body wash or perfumed soaps into a fresh tattoo.
Additional to that, we recommend using antiseptic cream. Preferably something natural, or chemical free, like Kawakawa oil.
We don’t recommend applying multiple creams while in the early stages of healing.