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Air NZ right to sink the ink ban

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OPINION: Air New Zealand's decision to lift its blanket ban on visible tattoos for customer-facing staff feels like something that should have happened decades ago.

Surely most of us are well aware that tattoos aren't the sole domain of criminals and gang members liable to teach you a violent lesson for as little as looking at them the wrong way, and other scourges of society.

Plenty of successful upstanding citizens have them. Heroes even. Among Kiwis, Gin Wigmore and the All Blacks spring to mind and both have starred in Air New Zealand safety videos.

With research showing that one in five adult New Zealanders has at least one tattoo and a third of under 30s are inked, tattoos are part of mainstream New Zealand society - like it or lump it.

* Air New Zealand to allow staff to show tattoos
* Air New Zealand reviewing makeup rules for flight attendants
* Air New Zealand's tattoo ban is unusual among employers

The reasons for getting a tattoo are of course many and varied. They can be traditional, cultural, religious, romantic or deeply personal. But for most, tattoos serve as a tangible symbol or reminder of something core to their identity, beliefs or values. Why should they be covered up as if they're something to be ashamed of?

In this day and age, people shouldn't have to hide who they are at work, much less conceal testaments to their cultural heritage. It is unlawful to deny employment based on race, ethnicity or religion, so when a tattoo is emblematic of one or more of those things, it follows that a........

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