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Kiwis companies seem to be liberal on the idea of employees with visible tattoos. The latest Environmental Risk Management Authority survey on tattoos found one in three New Zealanders under the age of 30 have body art. The Huffington Post reported last week, that well-known companies in the United States including Wal-Mart, Abercrombie & Fitch, Starbucks and the U.S. Army have relaxed restrictions on body art in the workplace. READ MORE:Is the tattoo is becoming less taboo at work?Man wakes up with 'Ray-Bans' tattoo It's been estimated that one in five adult New Zealanders have a tattoo, with a much higher average among the younger generations. With a population of over 4.5 million, this means more than 850,000 Kiwis have tattoos. Dale Williams, former mayor of Otorohanga and engineer by trade, said he believes employers in New Zealand are also loosening policies on employees with visible tattoos. "I think New Zealand is one of the most tattooed nations in the world." Primary school teacher Stephen Jolly who has a tattoo on the inside of his left arm confirmed this. He says his tattoo has not drawn unwanted attention in his profession, in fact, he says it has been a positive talking point. "I personally think that as long as it [the tattoo] isn't overtly offensive to others (e.g. racist/hate etc.) there shouldn't be a problem. However, I understand that in corporate industries the look and presentation of employees is important as there are still stereotypes and generalisations attached to people with tattoos."

There are a couple of us in school that have tattoos but you wouldn't notice it immediately. Also, the fact that we dress as professionals generally means they are covered up.
Primary school teacher Stephen Jolly
Jolly said it was becoming a mainstream now to have at least 1 or 2 tattoos. "There are a couple of us in school that have tattoos but you wouldn't notice it immediately. Also, the fact that we dress as professionals generally means they are covered up." Public Service Association assistant secretary Warwick Jones said the fact more and more young people have tattoos may have an influence on employers loosening policies, however, "the number of people with tattoos is a lot broader than that." Over recent years Air New Zealand has made headlines for its strict tattoo policies. The policy states that employees working in customer-facing roles must not have visible tattoos, a policy similar with many professions in the private sector. Northern Amalgamated Workers' Union worker Maurice Davis said in the construction and manufacturing industries employers would struggle to find someone without tattoos. Davis said negative connotation towards tattoos are often associated with gang culture. "Tattoos have been around a lot longer than gangs," he said. Sales and marketing appear to be careers with the strictest rules. While education, healthcare, construction and the public sector appear to be most lenient. "Ten years ago lots of people had tattoos but they were invariably covered up in some way to be able to do certain types of work, but now, you go to places like hospitals or law firms and you see everyone with tattoos, it's great," said Williams. In America, the occupation with the most lenient tattoo and piercing policy is the government. However, only 8 per cent of government employees have ink or piercings. The New Zealand Defence Force has no policy restricting personnel from having tattoos.