It's bold, it's beautiful and now it's part of his uniform.
After 20 years of service, Rawiri Barriball became the first person to get clearance from the Navy to wear a full-facial Māori tattoo.
"I've always felt I was gonna get it, I just wanted to achieve a few things first and one of them was doing 20 years' [service]."
The decision wasn't just his to be made. Mr Barriball had to apply under navy law to gain approval, it was granted last month.
"I guess with my job being a seaman combat specialist… We're face to face with people that we're trying to help different parts of the world, if they see something as in moko they might be a bit intimidated I guess."
Even after his 10-hour ink session with his brother to complete his facial tattoo, the Navy combat specialist was already confronted with the stigma around facial tattoos.
"When I left my brother's house, straight away you can see the reaction of people. Even body language, which I was prepared for, but the way people talk to you, it changes."
Rawiri is hoping that his own decision to wear a facial tattoo will help normalise these types of body art.
"I know there's a bad rap with people having moko... the more people that get it the more it will be accepted.
"It's not something you should be scared of - I'm just like any other human being."
On January 20, Rawiri will return to duty and reveal his new badge of honour.
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