Woman denied flight attendant job over tattoo

2013-05-28 14:35
Wellington - A Maori woman has been refused a job as a flight attendant on Air New Zealand because of a traditional tattoo on her forearm, Maori Television's Native Affairs programme reported.

"I thought that they would be quite proud to have someone with a 'ta moko' (a traditional Maori tattoo) working and representing Air New Zealand," Maori Claire Nathan told the programme broadcast Monday night. "No, that was not the case; it was the total opposite," she said.

The airline has used a traditional Maori spiral design, the koru, as its logo since 1973. Air New Zealand has featured heavily tattooed stars in its advertisements including members of the national rugby team, the All Blacks.

Nathan said she was told during an interview that it was Air New Zealand's policy not to accept tattoos which were visible outside the company's uniform.

She said she was then offered the possibility of applying for other roles within the company, "like baggage or cargo."

Air New Zealand said in a statement to Maori Television that their passengers "come from a whole range of cultures and in many of those cultures tattoos are considered to be frightening or intimidating."

But the company added that it was "reviewing Air New Zealand's grooming standards, including the issue of visible tattoos."

Prime Minister John Key told the New Zealand Herald that Clare Nathan's case was an internal matter for Air New Zealand,

Key, who is also Tourism Minister, said however he did not believe a traditional tattoo would put off tourists.

Read more on:    flights  |  travel international


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