Few New Zealanders belonging from Maori Heritage get tattoos to preserve their heritage and genealogy. The airlines have declared that from September 1, 2019, employees would be allowed to show non-offensive tattoos during working hours. It meant that there would be increasing acceptance for tattoos especially as means of self-expression. While some criticized the restriction of airlines, others said that the airlines were being hypocrite in utilizing aspects of Maori heritage for their own marketing gains.
Local media has informed that the airlines have done this change in their policies after several high-profile cases from people who were rejected jobs at Air New Zealand due to visible tattoos. Chief Executive Officer at the airlines said that they wanted to adopt people from diverse culture and permit employees to exhibit their cultural heritage or individuality. They want to be liberal with all staffs including those who wear uniforms like cabin crew, ground staff, pilots, airport customer service personnel etc. Henceforth they all would be allowed to have visible tattoos at work provided it is non-offensive.
The airlines also revealed that study has shown that every one out of five people in New Zealand have a minimum of one tattoo. About 35% people are tattooed under the age of 30. Facial tattoos or moko kauae are very significant in men. Men have moko covering their full face while women’s cover chins. The airlines also said that the final step to remove the ban was done after thorough research for 5 months with their staff and customers. National carrier’s spokesperson mentioned that this step would define tattoos to be like speech which would be a standard to measure whether something is offensive or not. She also said that there would be a Tattoo Review Panel to decide whether a tattoo is in accordance with their policies and terms or not.