Love Craft Atelier owners Nick Noonan and Makkala Rose and receptionist Ainsley sit on a brown leather couch

Tucked away off State Highway 75 in Tai Tapu, a new tattoo studio Love Craft Atelier will have their official opening to the public on 11 July.

Owners Makkala Rose and Nick Noonan recently bought a house near Akaroa and were looking for a secluded stand-alone store close by.

Makkala saw the store vacancy in Tai Tapu and remembers saying to Nick, “I want to work there”. A few months later they fitted the store with a tattoo studio in the back and a reception and gallery area in the front, where they will sell some of their paintings and other artwork and clients will be greeted by receptionist Ainsley.

“It’s the perfect location. It’s a bit more off the beaten path and lots of our clients have enjoyed the fact that it’s here and out of the city,” Makkala says.

Before starting their business, the pair had been traveling and working in tattoo studios around New Zealand and the world. While Nick stayed based in Auckland, Makkala continued to travel around the US and UK on and off for three years before returning to New Zealand October last year.

Throughout their travels, the couple won awards for their tattoos and built up a large following on social media, widely recognised for their high end distinctive tattoo styles; Makkala in illustrative realism specialising in florals and botanical and Nick in Japanese and realism tattooing.

“We both have our own styles which is why our clients come to us. We’ve got people who’ve flown internationally and people that have come from all sorts of different places around New Zealand to get tattoos.”

Many of their travelling clients end up staying locally for a little holiday and as a way of supporting local, Makkala and Nick give their clients a tour guide leaflet with local café and activities.

For Nick and Makkala tattooing is more than just a job, after ten years of experience it is their ‘love craft’ and they describe it as ‘permanent fine arts’, artwork someone can carry with them forever.