Air New Zealand to allow employees to have visible Tā Moko

Publish Date
Monday, 10 June 2019, 12:10PM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Air New Zealand has announced that their employees will be able to have visible Tā Moko and non-offensive tattoos at work. 

From 1 September all new and existing Air New Zealand employees will be able to have Tā Moko and non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing their uniform or normal business attire.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon made the announcement, and said that the change came after months of research. 

“We felt it was important that this change apply equally to all Air New Zealanders. We want to liberate all our staff including uniform wearers such as cabin crew, pilots and airport customer service teams who will, for the first time, be able to have non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing their uniforms.

Mr Luxon says it’s important that the airline keeps up with changes in social norms but it’s still a case of securing the best person for the job.

“As New Zealand’s most attractive employer we get a very large number of applications for every available role and the reality is that most applicants are not successful.  However, I can guarantee that no one will be turned down because of their tattoo as long as it’s not offensive or inappropriate.

In March a Whangārei man said Air New Zealand was being hypocritical after turning him down for a role because of his tā moko while covering their uniforms and planes with koru designs.

Sydney Heremaia, 36, had applied for a customer service agent role in February with the national carrier at Whangārei Airport.

While applying online he disclosed that he had a tā moko on his right shoulder, and tatau, a Samoan form of skin art, on his left forearm. Both were not visible while wearing a corporate shirt.

Heremaia said he was then asked to provide photos and to explain the cultural significance of them, which he did.

An Air New Zealand representative then sent him an email that said he was being turned down for the job because "the body art you have declared does not comply with our Uniform Standards for roles wearing the Koru Uniform".