Tattoo’s – memories of yester year

People get tattoo’s for many different reasons. Here’s just a few of them:

  1. To identify themselves,
  2. for style or fashion, and
  3. to honour a loved one.

My first two tattoos definitely fall into category one.

My first tattoo is of a buffalo believe it or not!


Why would a boy from Little Ole Kiwi Land want a buffalo branded on his body? The answer is obvious really – I was playing rugby for a rugby team called the buffalo’s!

25 years later: Do I regret this tattoo? No

Do I wish my tattoo had something more meaningful and important? No

It is what it is – a funny little splodge on my butt! My first tattoo represents my younger years, it represents freedom, of not quite being grown up and having major responsibilities. It’s a whimsy and a folly – just right for a young man.

I chose my butt because to me tattoo’s are very personal – I do not need to display my identity to the world. Only my wife and my doctor and the boys in the changing room can see it, and that’s fine by me.

25 years later I hardly even look at my tattoo – I don’t need too the memory and fun of those years, of my mates are still carried with me – mind and body.

My second tattoo, came at a time when I have been living away from New Zealand for nearly 15 years. After living in Australia and the UK, I had grown tired of cultural jibbing, ribbing and even knocking. I craved kiwi food, I craved kiwi music. I felt I was losing my identity. My second tattoo scratched more than ink into my skin, it scratched a massive itch. It was no surprise that 18 months later  I returned to my homeland. The time had come to come home.


I am now contemplating a third tattoo. This time it will honour my younger brother who took his own life when he was twenty. Life for my brother Sean was sometimes a struggle, a fight. At school he struggled despite being clever. He was not diagnosed as being dyslexic until well into his school years. By this time Sean had already come to the conclusion that school was not for him. He left early. For a short time Sean joined the Army. This is where he received his tattoo.It was a typical military tattoo – a snake and dagger.


Me and my bro as young men – a cheeky bugger if there was ever one!

Christmas in NZ is in Summer – it can be hot. And I remember Sean turning up with a sleeveless Tee Shirt which revealed his half finished Tattoo. The Christmas air could have been cut with a cake slice, my mother, my grandmothers and aunties, all gritting their teeth, sucking all the available air in between their pursed lips. Tattoo’s in our family were taboo and Sean was the first person in our family to ever get one (as far as I know). Feeling everyone’s eyes upon him, his response was typical Sean, he smiled cheekily, and asked. What?

He was a cheeky bugger and i miss him greatly. The time has come to honour his memory.The snake and dagger tattoo represents ‘struggle,’ it represents a fight in life. It seems incredibly apt that Sean chose this tattoo. I am going to get his tattoo finished. It will be slightly different. My snake and dagger will be set amongst native ferns and shrubs. There will be birds singing and a feeling of life and lightness.

I’m not sure my mother will approve, but as usual the only people who will be able to see this, will be those I am willing to share it with.

snake and dagger

Please note this Tattoo is representative only – my background will be native fauna and flora

Kia Ora Roly


4 thoughts on “Tattoo’s – memories of yester year

  1. Cheers. All but one of my sons has a tattoo or tattoos and the oldest does piercings and has several. I had in my what I wanted if the day wver came for me to get one. But all that went out the window when I decided to get my first and likely only tattoo with him. It represents a bond we share. As a baby he had rather large ears and loved the movie Dumbo. So together we got contrastin tattoos that represent that bond. Can you imagine what people think when they see the i age and why I chose that cartoon character? Tattoos are personal, one way or another.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry about your brother. Suicide is a particularly difficult loss. I have a tattoo I got in my late thirties and I still love it. I knew I wanted it and it was for me. My best buddy and I went together and what a great day we had, both getting one!
    Good luck what ever you decide. No one in my family has one and my mum absolutely hates them. If I’d known how much it might have appealed to my rebel nature as a teenager. Lucky escape I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tric, many thanks for your comment and support. One thing I didn’t cover in my post – was something that you hinted in your comment; that getting a tattoo does feel ‘naughty and rebellious’. That feeling is very liberating and empowering. Thank you for reminding me!

      Liked by 1 person

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