The Ink Beneath the Blue

All of my tattoos revolve around,… um, whānau, whakapapa, whenua. The reason why I had my ta
mokos done on my ankle was two markings on this side,
which represent my daughter’s footsteps in the spiritual
world, and then her footsteps on Earth side, and then for this child, two
footsteps in the spiritual world, and then none on this side,
cos she didn’t make it Earth side. And so for me, every step that
I take, I do it for my children. Family is really important to me.
My tattoos are all about who I am. They tell a story about not just me,
but where my ancestors come from. So, this bird tattoo that I
got, it represents freedom. This bird is just flying
and doing its own thing. And it’s freedom to be me,
and I am just who I am – I don’t worry what anyone
else thinks about me. They see my tattoos, and they’ll
say, ‘Oh, Māori. Kia ora, bro.’ My tattoos, they all tell a unique
story, which is unique to me. And I’ve got a younger sister,
she passed away in 2017, so I thought I’d get something
that represented her, and the angel wings represent
her passing on. And so the angel wings
will stay with me forever. We’re just normal people, normal
people who put on a uniform. You know, we do
a job to help people. The reason I like Batman
over other characters is he’s not a character with
superhuman strength. It’s relatable to the police. I’ve had a dude in a house
who was fighting angry, I guess you could say.
I didn’t know anything about him; he didn’t know anything about
me. He saw the tattoo on my arm, and, yeah, he was, like, ‘Oh,’
like, fully out of character. He went from up here to down here, started talking about the tatt
and was, like, ‘Oh, mean tatt.’ My oldest son was 12
and suddenly passed away, so that was the start towards my
journey about joining the police. I can go to jobs where there
where a mother has lost her son, and I’m actually able to comfort
and say I know what it’s like. They mean strength, resilience. They mean new beginnings, the
balance between good and bad. For me, it’s empowering, because,
you know, I always get people, like, ‘Oh, you don’t have
a partner?’ Or, you know, ‘You raise your daughter on your
own?’ And I’m, like, ‘Yeah, I do.’ And I can still do my
māhī a hundred percent. I can still be a good parent
and stuff like that. Give it a go, and you don’t need
to be some superhuman bodybuilder, like, 6ft giant.
You know what I mean? I’m a police officer, and I’m also
part of the rainbow community. And I’m really proud to be able
to mix those two things together. You know when you get to go to jobs and the family are grieving and in
pain, you kind of relate to them, and you know the protocol —
what they’re going through. And I think that that’s what people
remember — that you’re human. If someone can have resilience, then they can go through anything
and come out the other side fine. You shouldn’t have
a limitation on yourself – just if you wanna do it, do it. You can join the police with
tattoos. If it represents who you are, then you do that. At the end of the day and behind
this blue thing, I’m just a person, so I’m empathetic and compassionate
and thoughtful, just like every other cop. Don’t lose who you
are; use who you are and join the New Zealand
Police whānau today.

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