Skip to main content

This month takes us to a small seaside village in the sunny Hawkes Bay called Waimarama. Beyond its popular surf beach, you will find a cute little studio called “El Vardo Tattoo Studio” which could nearly be mistaken for a small winery with its idyllic setting nestled amongst trees and vines in the Tuki Tuki Valley.

Our artist of the month is Sam Carter, owner of El Vardo. It wasn’t until a close friend said she was boarding a flight to Hawke’s Bay to get a tattoo and I said why there! When she came back I was amazed and could see why she went all that way just to get a tattoo (and has been a repeat customer).

Sam’s journey to tattooing started back in 2007 in Palmerston North where she worked under Steve Nisbet who taught her the art of tattooing. She then moved from Palmerston North to the sunny Hawkes bay where she started Gypsy Kids Tattoo in 2010 working out of Monsta Truck Tattoo owned by John Roberts. She then branched out on her own in 2017 and opened her own studio El Vardo Tattoo Studio.

Sam’s style as she describes it is “Organic and ornamental and specialising in majority black and grey.” We love the beautiful Mandela work Sam does and also her realism pieces. Here’s a few of our favourites from Sams Work.

Sam will be at the NZ Tattoo Festival this year which is happening 23 & 24 November at TSB Stadium in New Plymouth. Make sure you check out Sam’s work when your there and if you’re lucky book a spot to get your tattoo done by her.

900 Waimarama Road
Havelock North
Hawkes Bay
New Zealand


06 6512247 


Leave a Reply

Subscribe for 5% off

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from us.

Thanks! Use code: 5PERCENT