An Air New Zealand flight attendant applicant says she was told her ta moko - a traditional Maori tattoo - would prevent her getting a job.
In an interview to be broadcast on Maori television's Native Affairs programme tonight, Claire Nathan says she was told the policy was for no visible tattoos.
When she applied for a cabin crew position the online form asked if she had any visible tattoos.
"I thought this is interesting, I wonder why they are asking me that? Maybe it's because they want to know if I have ta moko - I thought they would be quite proud to have someone with a ta moko working and representing New Zealand, [but it's] not the case, [it] was the total opposite," says Ms Nathan.
While Nathan's application was accepted, at the interview stage she was told that Air New Zealand's policy was no visible tattoos allowed.
"I said straight away, 'this is a ta moko'. She said, 'You can't even cover that up and that we will have to stop this interview.' I was totally shocked and just couldn't believe what I was hearing."
In a statement Air New Zealand says the policy is about making customers feel comfortable.
"Obviously a large number of our passengers are visitors to New Zealand, they come from a whole range of cultures and in many of those cultures tattoos are considered to be frightening or intimidating," said the statement.
Air New Zealand says it is reviewing its policy but the International Travel College of New Zealand says it's a standard policy amongst international airlines and top hotels, and students are informed that a visible tattoo could affect their job chances.
But a ta moko expert says to Maori it's not just a tattoo.
"The markings that we carry are hundreds, thousands of years old, so we inherit those designs by blood," says ta moko artist Gordon Toi.
The Human Rights Commission says there have been instances where a ban on tattoos was considered indirect discrimination against Maori, and if Ms Nathan believes she has experienced discrimination she should make a complaint.
source: newshub archive