Piercing, Tattooing and Beauty services

From a health perspective, any skin-piercing - including tattooing, ear and nose piercing - can be risky.

Tattooing and piercing can be a way of transmitting viruses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Aids (HIV), which are sometimes referred to as BBV's (Blood Borne Viruses). However, with good hygiene practices in place, these risks can largely be prevented.

Currently, a registration or permit for piercing, tattooing and beauty services is not required in the Waitaki Distrct.


Tattoos are permanent ink designs on the skin. They are created using a tattooing needle, which penetrates the skin to apply black or coloured inks. The needle is usually mounted in a frame which is electromagnetically activated so the needle oscillates backwards and forwards as it enters the skin.

If you are considering getting a tattoo, there are definitely certain things to consider first. Tattoos can be removed, but this is very expensive and your skin will never be the same.

Most importantly, make sure the right person is doing the tattoo.

Keep well away from 'back yarders'. Most commercial operators support some sort of registration or membership process as this prevents unqualified people entering the market.

Related websites: EPA Guidelines - Tattoo, Worksafe - Tattoo, Ministry of Health - Customary Tattooing Guidelines for Operators

Body piercing (including ear piercing)

Body piercings are holes in different parts of the body (for eg, ear lobes, nose, eyebrow) made so jewellery can be worn. The holes are made with a piercing needle or gun, and they can leave a scar.

If you are getting your ears pierced with a stud gun, make sure it is a sterile, single-use, cartridge model. Make sure the body artist meets the same requirements as for any other body piercing.

Important: stud guns are designed for ear lobes only. Do not allow anyone to pierce any other part of your body with a stud gun.

Beauty services

Beauty service procedures e.g. waxing can result in risks to the public including bacterial diseases and blood poisoning.

The New Zealand Association of Registered Beauty Therapists produce Health and Hygiene Guidelines for operators. These are updated regularly. To view the guidelines please visit NZ Association of Registered Beauty Therapists website.

If you have concerns

If you have concerns about the hygiene practices being performed locally for tattooing, body piercings or beauty services, contact the Industry Association or our Environmental Health officer.