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Permits, Food & Licensing
~ Kirimana āheitanga, te kai me ngā raihana

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Piercing & Tattoos

This information is designed to help you decide which is the best place to go for you to get it done without putting yourself at any risk of illness or wound infection afterwards.

Whenever skin is pierced, and this includes jewellery inserts, tattooing, acupuncture, hair removal by waxing or electrolysis, red vein cautery, manicures and pedicures (sometimes), then there can be the risk of disease of one patient getting to another if the process isn't done properly. This can include diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C and some skin conditions.

Also if the right advice isn't given, wounds can become infected afterwards. Then you not only get pain and a scar, but you haven't got your money's worth either.

Napier City Council now have a Bylaw that requires any premise that pierces skin, doing any of the things mentioned before, is registered with the Council so that we can inspect them and make sure they are doing their thing safely for you.

When you decide to get something done that involves ski-piercing look out for a place that is registered with the Council. They will have a CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION FOR SKIN PIERCING PREMISES with details of the address, occupier, date of expiry, City Council crest and signature of an Environmental Health Officer. (But this doesn't apply to pharmacies, doctors, podiatrists and acupuncturists). If a place you go to doesn't have one of these, ask why.

Things to look for in a skin piercing or tattoo parlour:

  • You should always make sure that the person you see explains any risk about what you are having done and exactly how they are going to do it
  • .Be sure that the room is clean and that any towels etc are either new or freshly washed just for you.
  • Their hands must be freshly washed and they should be wearing gloves (except for some beauty work).
  • Keep an eye out for them then touching things that haven't been sanitised.
  • They must use sterilized equipment and new sterile needles. The jewellery must also be sterile.
  • Anything that goes into your skin must be sterile. Ask them how they did this. It could be by soaking in a chemical sterilant (not sanitiser) for half an hour or so, packaged in an autoclave or oven, or purchased pre-sterilised.
  • Make sure they open it in front of you and don't touch it except with another sterile instrument or gloved hands, by the bit that doesn't go into you.
  • Always check that what they are doing is what you want, where you want, before they do the actual work. You can't change it when its done.
  • If you are under 16 years of age you will need your parents consent to have a tattoo or jewellery insert.
  • You can't have it done if you have been drinking or are on some sort of drugs.
  • Make sure you get written instructions on how to make sure the site heals well afterwards, as you may not feel like listening well at the time.
  • If you have any doubts, go somewhere else. Choose the place by their quality of work and health protection not just the price.

Ear Piercing

The gun insertion method is the only recommended method for ear piercing. Pre-sterilised, disposable fittings should be used. The clients skin should be thoroughly cleansed using one of the above solutions. Following the procedure, the gun should be cleaned in cold water and detergent and scrubbed (eg. use a toothbrush). Physically dry the gun and sterilise by plunging it into a 70% alcohol solution, and allowing it to air dry before further use.


The clients skin should be cleansed with one of the above solutions before beginning. Dyes should be dispensed from collapsible tubes to prevent contamination of dye residues.

After the procedure, the needle, nozzle and needle bar should be thoroughly cleaned in cold water and detergent, then sterilised (preferably using a heat treatment method). The hand piece should be wiped clean with a 70% alcohol solution and left to air dry.


It is strongly recommended that disposable needles are used for all acupuncture techniques. Should reusable needles be used, ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned in cold water and detergent, with any organic matter scoured off, then heat treated to sterilise.

Risks to operators

In all situations where needles are used, there is a potential risk to the operators. Care should be taken to prevent needle stick injuries. All recent cuts on the hands should be covered by a waterproof dressing or gloves before starting work. Any blood splashes on the work surface should be treated by wiping up with a cloth soaked in neat bleach.

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