Air New Zealand drops ban on staff tattoos

Air New Zealand has lifted its blanket ban on visible tattoos for customer-facing staff.


Air New Zealand has announced changes that will allow for its staff to “proudly” display their non-offensive tattoos at work.


Reversing the controversial long-standing policy has drawn praise across the country.


Many New Zealanders with Maori heritage wear tattoos to mark their genealogy.


The old policy was deemed discriminatory and hypocritical as the airline uses the Māori language in its marketing campaigns and uses a fern-like symbol known as a ‘koru’ in its logo.


Chief executive Christopher Luxon says the airline is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects the makeup of the country.


“In conversations we’ve had with customers and our own people domestically and overseas in the past five months, it’s clear that there is growing acceptance of tattoos in New Zealand, particularly as a means of cultural and individual expression,” he said.


The carrier said it would “treat tattoos like speech” to determine what would be considered offensive.


According to local media, the policy shift was influenced by high-profile cases of individuals who had been refused roles at Air New Zealand because of visible tattoos.


The new policy will take effect from September 1.