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The changing face of news in New Zealand: Māori journalist becomes first presenter with a moko kauae

3 min read

Good Stuff
Source: @oriinz/Instagram & Newshub

Māori journalist Oriini Kaipara has made headlines by being the first person with a traditional Māori chin tattoo to anchor a prime time TV news show.

Oriini Kaipara Becomes First Person With Face Tattoo To Host Prime-time News

Presenter Oriini Kaipara has made history by becoming the first person with a traditional Māori face tattoo to read the primetime news bulletin. The 37-year-old made her debut on Newshub on December 27, when she was reportedly asked to fill in for the show’s usual hosts, Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts. According to Stuff, Kaipara was left ‘proud’ by her achievement and couldn’t believe the huge ‘step forward’ in primetime news.

“I'm very much aware that I'm the first [with moko kauae] to anchor a six o'clock primetime news bulletin,” she told local media “That is always at the back of my mind, that every step I make is like breaking through a glass ceiling… It's breaking new ground for us as Māori, but also for people of colour. Whether you've got a moko kauae or not.”
Oriini Kaipara, who has a moko kauae, presented on Newshub Live at 6pm during Christmas week, in place of usual hosts. “I’m very much aware that I’m the first [with moko kauae] to anchor a six o’clock primetime news bulletin,” she told local media “That is always at the back of my mind, that every step I make is like breaking through a glass ceiling… It’s breaking new ground for us as Māori, but also for people of colour. Whether you’ve got a moko kauae or not.” Source: @oriinz/Instagram

Maori newsreader becomes first person with chin tattoo to anchor news programme

A New Zealand reporter has made history by becoming the first person to present a prime time news programme with a traditional Māori chin tattoo, reported MSN last month.

Oriini Kaipara, who has a moko kauae, presented on Newshub Live at 6pm during Christmas week, in place of usual hosts. Kaipara said the opportunity made a lifelong dream come true and hoped she was the first of many Māori women to present the news with their traditional tattoos on show. 

“I’m very much aware that I’m the first [with moko kauae] to anchor a six o’clock primetime news bulletin,” she told local media “That is always at the back of my mind, that every step I make is like breaking through a glass ceiling… It’s breaking new ground for us as Māori, but also for people of colour. Whether you’ve got a moko kauae or not.”

Ms Kaipara first hit the headlines in November 2019, when she filled in on TVNZ’s noon bulletin. She has previously worked on TVNZ’s te reo news show Te Karere, on Māori Television and broadcasting with Mai FM.

In 2017, Ms Kaipara took a DNA test which found she was effectively 100% Māori, with 98% Māori ancestry confirmed and the remaining 2% unclear. At the time she wrote “being Māori is so much more than blood quantum.”

“In New Zealand, many believed there are no full-blood Māori left. It’s often been used by critics of Māori who seek equal rights and sovereignty. My results, at least, show there is one full-blooded Māori contrary to that belief. 

“I believe there are more full-blooded Māori, they just haven’t done a DNA test. For me, being Māori is a way of life. I was born and bred in a Māori world where reo (language) and tikanga (traditions) were embedded in us.”

Ms Kaipara is bilingual and of Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Rangitihi descent. Māori tattooing or Tā moko is used to represent the wearer’s family heritage and social status. It is a rite of passage for Māori women, marking the transition between girl and adulthood, and symbolises the personal process. 

Source: MSN

It also perpetuates a traditional taonga passed down over many generations from the ancestress Niwareka — Oriini Kaipara posted these images of her moko kauae tattooing to Instagram 5 January 2019.
A moko kauae represents a woman’s whānau, and the service and leadership she has given them and her community, in recognition of her mana, status, abilities and commitment to the collective. It also perpetuates a traditional taonga passed down over many generations from the ancestress Niwareka — Oriini Kaipara posted these images of her moko kauae tattooing to Instagram 5 January 2019. Source: @oriinz/Instagram
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HOW TO FEEL GOOD IN YOUR OWN SKIN

We are not suggesting you must go out and get your chin tattooed to feel good about who you are and your place in society — that particular statement has deep significance to someone else’s cultural heritage. The bottom line is that feeling good about yourself is an inside job. One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is by working on yourself. In this way, incremental improvements begin to show measurable results, and they in turn become further incentive. You are valuable and wonderful just the way you are, but hearing it from others (or not) isn’t always satisfactory. You want to feel it for yourself for the best benefits. This link is to our “Personal Growth” articles, for you to pick one and start getting better, being better, and most importantly feeling better. When you feel better about yourself, so do other people. Everybody wins! But don’t do it for others — do it for yourself.