Senior Constable Brenda Lee, Queensland's first police officer to wear a moko kauae, hopes her tatau will encourage others to be proud of who they are.
Taking her nearly 20 years, Lee said she finally reached a time in her life where she was ready to wear a moko kauae.
"Tae mai te wā māku I was ready, this is my time."
Once the moko artist was finished and Senior Constable Lee looked in the mirror for the first time, she cried.
"Everyone has individual designs and you never know what it's going to look like until you get off the table. So, after it was finished, I went to the mirror and had a really good look and oh, man, I cried."
A moko kauae is an ancestral marking or tatau (tattoo) that wahine Māori wear on their chins, traditionally acquired on the basis of their mana and whakapapa.
"It represents dignity, identity, worthiness, respect, integrity, genealogy, accomplishment, warriorhood, beauty, honour to serve others, you do not have to earn it, if you whakapapa Māori, it is your birthright to choose," she said.
When Lee was asked what it is like to be a Māori Queensland Police Officer, she said being Māori, a woman, parent and a grandparent brings unique experience to her role, providing a strong link to her community.
"I remember one particular mental health job. The patient looked at me and said, are you Maori? And I said 'Ae', and an instant connection was made.
"I was able to interact with her, keep her calm and I picked up that she missed her mum. I started to sing little waiata, little songs to her from when she would have been at school and we did a karakia together."
Lee didn't realise how much being Māori would affect her policing jobs.
Lee said she has been 'blown away' by the response she has had after receiving her moko kauae, she was approached by a fellow indigenous officer who said he was proud of her making a stand.
Which, Lee said, touched her heart.