skip to main content

I want to...

Current filter:

Piercing and tattoosTe poka me te tā moko

When skin is penetrated during work such as piercings, tattooing, branding or acupuncture, there is a risk of infection. This is why Napier City Council has a bylaw requiring registration and compliance for all those offering the services included in the legislation.

Do I need to be registered?

A premise at which the following practices are performed requires registration as a skin piercer in accordance with Napier City Council Bylaws.

  • Tattooing
  • Insertion or implantation of jewellery
  • Electrolysis or caxing
  • Red vein cautery
  • Manicure or pedicure
  • Possibly acupuncture and podiatry

An Environmental Health Officer can help you with the registration process. They can undertake preliminary inspections at any stage of the setup phase. Note: Some premises may be exempt.

The basics

Here are the basic requirements:

  • All skin piercing area surfaces must be continuously smooth, impervious to water, readily cleanable and lightly coloured.
  • Lighting and ventilation must be adequate.
  • There must be hot and cold running water and a wash hand basin must be convenient to the skin piercing area and separate from other sinks.
  • You must organise management of cleaning practices, personal hygiene policies, pest control, building maintenance and staff training.
  • Standard universal precautions protecting the health of each client must be used to prevent wound infection and disease transferences.
  • All needles must be single use disposables and other skin piercing utensils must be sterilized satisfactorily.

Registration is renewed each year from 1st April or if the business changes hands.

When you are ready to open, contact the Environmental Health Office (EHO) for an inspection and apply for a certificate of registration. A fee will apply. You may not open until registration has been made and the EHO has approved opening of the premises.

Skin Piercing Guidelines

Increasing public awareness has led to increased concerns about the risk of transmission of blood borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B, and C (HBV and HCV). Any of these viruses can be transmitted by contaminated needles, or by blood-to-blood contact. Therefore there is a potential risk to both the client and the operator if proper procedures are not adhered to and needles are not properly sterilised.

The purpose of these guidelines is to explain simple and effective methods that should be employed to help ensure this.


Wherever possible, disposable needles should be used. These should be discarded between clients and no attempt should be made to sterilise them for reuse. Note that needles should be discarded into a puncture resistant container for disposal.

Reusable equipment needs to be both cleaned and sterilised.


Instruments should be physically cleaned by an operator wearing gloves, in cold water with detergent. A brush should be used to removed any adherent material. Ultrasonic cleaning is an acceptable method of cleaning.


Heat is best. Simply boiling clean instruments at 1000c for 30 minutes will effectively kill off HIV, HBV and HCV viruses, as well as many other disease causing organisms. Alternatively, dry heat can be used, for instance glass bead sterilisers at 2500c for 30 seconds, or electric oven at 1700c for an hour.

It is important to ensure before attempting to disinfect:

  • That the instruments are clean
  • That the heating equipment is up to temperature
  • That the heating unit is not overloaded.

Chemical Disinfection

These methods are inferior to heat treatment and should only be used for heat sensitive and environmental cleaning.

Suitable solutions include:

  • Glutaraldehyde - immerse equipment for a half hour.
  • Hypochlorite (Bleach etc.) - cheap and effective, but can be very corrosive. Ideal for environmental disinfection.
  • Alcohol (Ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol) - immerse equipment for a half hour. Use in a 70% concentration and allow to air dry.

At all times, follow the manufacturers instructions when handling chemicals.

The following products are not suitable for use:

  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Low strength (0.5%) Formalin
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds.

These methods have been shown to be ineffective as virucidals, and should not be relied upon.

Cleaning the Clients Skin

In all situations, skin should be cleaned before starting work by wiping the skin surface with one of the following solutions:

  • 70% alcohol
  • Chlorhexidine gluconate (Hibitane)
  • Povidone iodine (Betadine)

You can print off the Tattooist/Skin Piercers licence/registration form from the ‘Related Documents’ at the top of this page, fill it out and bring it in to our Customer Service Centre at 215 Hastings Street. Or you can do everything online:

Application for Tattooist/Skin Piercers Premises - Online form


Napier City Council - Copyright © 2024 Napier City Council

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Napier City Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Napier City Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Napier City Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Napier City Council - / +64 6 835 7579 /