NZ Journalist Becomes First Person With Māori Face Tattoo to Present Primetime News

ANew Zealand journalist has created history by becoming the first person with a Māori face tattoo to present the primetime news bulletin.

Oriini Kaipara News© © Instagram

Oriini Kaipara got the ‘moko kauae’ – representation of a wahine’s (Māori woman) whānau (extended family), and her service to the community – in 2017 when she got to know through a DNA test that she was 100 per cent Māori.

Kaipara hosted the 6 pm bulletin on Newshub on December 27.

Although she was filling in for the usual hosts, Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts, she is gearing up to take the permanent position on the 4.30 pm slot, reports New Zealand media site Stuff. She took to her Instagram page to celebrate the historic moment, writing, “6 pm Debut.”

Social media was flooded with praise and encouragement for the 37-year old.

One user said, “Made a great occasion of switching on the telly and cheering when you came on. So awesome to see you on at prime time.” While another declared that Kaipara makes tv news “better.”

An encouraging tweet read, “Right on! Indigenous representation & gender equality matters.”

Stuff quoted her in a statement, “It’s really exciting. I’m very much aware that I’m the first [with ‘moko kauae’] to anchor a six o’clock primetime news bulletin…every step I make is like breaking through a glass ceiling,

” She said that she understands that it’s “breaking new ground” for Māori people as well as people of colour.

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The bilingual journalist of Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Rangitihi descent first made headlines in 2019 when she became the first woman with a traditional tattoo to present the mainstream news on TVNZ’s afternoon slot.

Kaipara is aware of the far reaching significance of her ‘moko kauae’ being flaunted on national television and realises the extent of inspiration it can lend to her people.

She said that it’s a “big win” for this generation as well as the next 10. “Don’t let identity or your culture hold you back from anything.

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In fact, you use it as your power, to be greater and do great things for everyone,” she told Stuff. Little things like the right pronunciation of Māori words has had a profound impact on Māori people. She added that her daughter, Ngarongo, was extremely proud of her achievement, too.

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