Making A Moko-ry of Human Rights?


Air NZ’s decision not to hire an aspiring cabin crew attendant because she had a very ‘NZ’ tattoo on her forearm has raised some interesting debate in the media.

Apart from inviting various views as to whether such a decision violated the Human Rights Commission Act, it also has to be challenged whether the media reaction would have been the same had that person been overweight, worn a full burqa, a bindi, or nose chain, had two front teeth missing, had an arm that was a prosthesis, exuded distinctly bad breath or rancid body odour or the tattoo was not a moko but a swastika, gang emblem or prison insignia?


Would Air NZ’s decision have been different if the role that was being applied for was outside of the public eye in say a call centre?

The real issue is whether their decision was grounds for a discrimination case under the Human Rights Act, or, indeed whether they could have handled this issue in a whole different way. Their decision smacks of double standards and brand inconsistency when they hold themselves out as an iconic NZ brand, use the Koru in much of their branding and deploy the colourful (and tattooed) Ma’a Nonu in their advertising campaigns.

We welcome your views!

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