You might not have known that “tattoo” is an old Tahitian word, and that the art form dates back some 2,000 years in Polynesia. There are still some traditional tattoo artists (particularly on Moorea and the Marquesas islands) who carry on the practice in the old manner, using a boar-tusk comb to puncture the skin and insert the pigment. Tattooing is considered a sacred rite of passage here; full-sleeve, face, and neck tattoos are not uncommon. The intricate, often painful process is not for the faint of heart—but those distinctive black-ink tribal bands, geometric shapes, and Maori symbols make for a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Freehand tattoo artist Marama Olsen is considered to be the island’s best. Call for an appointment—but save this for the end of your trip, as fresh ink needs to be kept out of the sun.
Appointments at Marama Tattoo Pora Pora are in extremely high demand, and typically scheduled at least two months in advance. Book through the Conrad concierge, who can also arrange transportation to Marama Olsen’s studio, located in Vaitape.
Marama Tattoo Pora Pora, 98730 Vaitape; 689-8774-5792