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Tattoo Expo Auctions art for good cause.

Following last year’s success, the International Tattoo and Art Expo will be returning to the Claudelands’ Event Centre in Hamilton this upcoming weekend, bringing you the best of urban street culture and showing a bit of their sensitive side too.

A weekend packed full of things to see and do, including access to some of the best domestic and international tattoo artists, this year the expo will be auctioning off art to raise money for 10-year-old boy Nico, who has muscular dystrophy and needs funds for special equipment.

Expo organizer Chris Preece works at a specialist learning school in Hamilton when not busy organizing the expo and has previously helped the school raise funds for special equipment.

“Nico crossed my path through one of the team involved in the Expo. He is a great kid and is in need of new equipment to make day-to-day living easier. So here we are working with the family to help a much deserving wee man,” says Chris.

The ten-year-old boy from Cambridge was born with muscular dystrophy — a disorder that attacks the body’s muscles and progressively leads to muscle loss. Despite these setbacks early in his life, Nico has never let them hold him back.

At nine, he wrote his first cookbook to raise money for the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund and has also won the New Zealand Kids Cook Off on the Good Morning television show. Unsurprisingly, Nico was nominated as a finalist for TVNZ’s Attitude Awards for his efforts.

Nico will be selling his own art and cookbooks at the Expo as well as select pieces of donated art from participants.

Adding a Raglan touch to the event, local surfboard artist Kaya Rayner will be doing a surfboard painting demo, showcasing his signature tattoo and street influenced style. And we may also be seeing some heavily tattooed people around town if the artists return to stay in Raglan after the event.

“The feedback from last year has been excellent with many of the international artists returning. We took the artists to relax at the tranquil Solscape and that amazing experience left the artists wanting to return to New Zealand,” says Chris.

After many attended last year’s expo, this year’s event is set to be bigger with some of the entertainment lined up including the world’s best body painters, tattoo and graffiti artists, skateboarding demos, Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA) competitions and a live roller derby bout.

“There have been a few more challenges this year but also, there’s a lot more going on so that’s to be expected. It makes it all the more worth while when it comes together and you see thousands of people having a great time,” says Chris

The weekend will also see performances by musicians and tattoo enthusiasts Tiki Taane and I Am Giant as well as Raglan punk group The Illicit Wawas playing the official artist’s afterparty held on Sunday at Flow Bar.

With artists from the USA, Norway, England, Russia, Japan, China, South Africa and Australia as well as crowd favourites, Dr. Rev the Bloodpainter, MMA and Muay Thai fighters and the burlesque girls attending, the International Tattoo and Art Expo is looking to be a great weekend.

The International Tattoo and Art Expo will be on at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton from the 25th to 26th of February, tickets available from or from the venue on the day.

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