Getting a Maori Tattoo – Day 365, Part 2
The Finale to New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year!
Today is the final day of New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year: Day 365! We are celebrating this memorable year with an activity that’s gonna stick with us forever: getting a custom Maori tattoo! Missed any of the adventure and need NZ bucket list inspiration, just head over to the BackpackerGuide.NZ YouTube Channel!
In the Maori tradition you were remembering special events and historical moments through tattoos that was the only writing method so it’s only fitting to remember such a massive event in our lives with a traditional Maori tattoo. So we’re gonna tell our stories to an artist and he’s gonna draw up something for us. that’s pretty exciting. Neither Laura or I have a tattoo just yet.
Alright guys, that’s the big one, it’s the afternoon we just come down from the Sky Tower and we arrive at Otautahi Tattoo which is a Maori tattoo parlour right in the heart of Auckland in K Road. And you guys will notice that right at the bottom we are on activity 375 because, yes, during New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year we have done more than 365 activities, some activities we, you know, not really an activity but we still did it anyway, so we didn’t count it and just to be sure that everybody’s happy we did an extra 10.
Do you prefer it to be quite simple or are you in for full-on?
I think I prefer it quite simple.
And all those activities that we’ve during our 365 day journey is what we are telling to our Maori tattoo artist, Arapeta.
We’ve come with some really basic designs of the outline of New Zealand with the number 365 within it and Robin’s gonna be getting the South Island while I’ll be getting the North Island.
The more I’m watching the design the more and more excited I’m getting about it.
And what about travel?
All these small lines that I’ve drawn in here are called unauahi. They relate to travel pattern, their relation comes from the ocean this pattern is a travel pattern.
I love it. I really like it. It’s so cool.
So that’s gonna go on your SASS right?
Not on my SASS.
Come on! We agreed on the SASS.
No we did not.
After I’m happy with my design, or should I say ecstatic with my design it’s time for Arapeta to listen to Robin’s story and work on his design.
I’m really into water, scuba diving as soon as we jump from a boat and go sailing…
This pattern here, goes out, that’s the water pattern. So that’s more travel, seafaring or ocean travel.
Those kind of angular more shapes or triangle shapes would be good. I think it’s more me, it’s a bit less… Just for the fillers right, not for the whole shape of the design.
A bit more sharp and edgy. Edgy sort of person.
When you say it like that it just sounds awful.
During my explanation about my design I talk about my connection with nature and with water.
I really like it. I may regret asking for angular shapes cos I don’t see how they would fit.
You ask too much, Robin.
That’s fine, we can forget about things I ask since I’m an idiot.
I have to say I’m so stoked with the design that Arapeta came up with. It’s stunning!
You’re getting yours on your SASS right?
God! No deal!
So the tattoo design is being finished right now, we have to go get ourselves some lunch so we don’t pass out so we come back here in about 40 minutes with some food in our bellies.
And we’re probably going to buy a treat for our tattoo artist so we know he’s gonna do a good job.
Luckily we are on K Road basically the foodie place of New Zealand – it’s so amazing the amount of options that the bohemian part of Auckland has to offer. There is food for every taste.
After checking out our all options we are opting for a Turkish dish which involves rice salad and lot of meat and that was absolutely delicious then we take ourselves a lot of chocolate for courage then we head back in.
After his shameful display of fear on the Sky Tower this morning, Robin makes up for it by being the brave one and getting his tattoo first.
After doing some landscaping which unfortunately doesn’t involve waxing, Arapeta is transferring the design from Robin’s leg so Robin can decide where about he wants the tattoo. Once he’s happy it’s time to get to work.
Are you gorging already? Yeah. It actually does help.
He’s definitely going to need more chocolate.
Mmm chocolate is good.
New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year has been all about having new experiences and neither Robin and I have had a tattoo before and to be honest there is a little bit of pain involved. Can you tell by our faces?
So I’ve resolved to video games now.
So as Arapeta is digging into my skin to ink me for life we take the time to reminisce on what happened this year. Honestly, 375 activities how amazing is that? We’ve done 14 jet boat rides, we’ve done 4 skydives, we broke down the campervan twice, we actually broke an arm at some point, we also broke camera parts, we did heaps of walk actually 42 – Laura counted them, and we nerded out 10 times on Lord of the Rings activities.
Those numbers are absolutely incredible but just the fact that we survived this year is absolutely amazing. I just, this tattoo has to tell the whole story.
I love my tattoo so much but now it’s Laura’s turn to sit on the bench and get finally inked.
So every time it hurts, Laura is getting some chocolate – that’s pretty handy.
That’s not fun.
I can definitely see why Robin was pulling all those faces. it really hurts to start with to be honest, so I stuff my face with chocolate and try to forget but after a while you do get used to it. And we are really good at distracting each other. We’re just talking about how amazing this past year has been.
I too reminisce on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year can you believe we have done about 12 kayaking trips, 12 caves trips, about 400km around the country, seen countless birds, countless people, countless hidden gems and I’ve lost about 3kg Robin’s lost about 6kg and it’s kind of like Survivor.
As Arapeta is putting the finally touches to my tattoo and even adding a splash of colour, I’m absolutely blown away by the results. This tattoo is absolutely incredible.
New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year and doing 365 activities in 365 days is an experience that’s gonna stay with us for life so there’s nothing more fitting than getting a Maori tattoo from New Zealand to mark this. We are both absolutely amazed by our tattoos.
Alright here we are. Inked for life. This is the best way I could ever think of of finishing New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year. Can you believe it’s finished?
I can’t believe it’s finished. I’m thinking what are we doing tomorrow?
What’s our activity tomorrow?
After this once in a lifetime experience we just have the time to head back to our hostel and finally check out for one last time.
Seriously, what a year it’s been!
It has been pretty epic. It’s even just coming to this tattoo parlour today just represents how this whole trip has been. We went in with shitty designs, we didn’t have very high expectations for our tattoos, we had crappy designs ourselves,…
Stop dissing my designs.
And it’s like how we approached this trip – we weren’t sure what to expect we bought this massive motorhome because we thought we would have to freedom camp everywhere, we thought we’d just have to live out of our campervan for the whole time and yeah, all sorts, we didn’t know what activities we were gonna be able to do we didn’t know if any body would want us to do their activities. We didn’t have very high expectations coming into this trip, but just like leaving this tattoo parlour with amazing tattoos just far beyond anything we imagined, that’s exactly how we left this trip like.
Yeah, New Zealand provided, you know we did work really hard to have to just go way beyond whatever we exacted. We learned so much you know, Laura and I never held a camera before this very trip so we had no idea how to use a drone how to use a camera, we had no idea how to do any of that. We did learn the very hard way and we’re still doing a million mistakes but you know, that’s what you do. We are travel writers and we are not anything else so it’s just a real true experience right here. and we really hope that we got to show you guys the best that New Zealand has to offer and show it to you in the true manner, we were not here to do commercials, we were here to just show you hey what is it like to go on a jet boat ride with your GoPro.
By the way we went to way too may jet boat runs.
We should make a drinking game out of all the jet boats we’ve done.