New Zealand journalist, Oriini Kaipara, has made headlines by being the first person with a Maori face tattoo to present primetime news. Many have claimed her role on primetime news has been a landmark milestone for Māori representation.
“I was really elated. I was over the moon,” Kaipara told CNN of the moment she found out she would cover the primetime slot. “It’s a huge honor. I don’t know how to deal with the emotions.“
Kaipara has had her chin tattoo, or Tā moko, for nearly 3 years. When she took a DNA test and found out she was 100% Maori, she decided to get a significant tattoo.
In Māori culture, it (Ta moko) reflects the individual’s whakapapa (ancestry) and personal history. In earlier times it was an important signifier of social rank, knowledge, skill and eligibility to marry.NZ.com
First Maori with Ta moko on Primetime
While Kaipara is no stranger to the newsdesk, the primetime slot is something new for her. She has been an anchor for the late afternoon news since 2019. That’s when Kaipara first made waves as the first person with Māori facial markings to present a mainstream TV news program.
However, the 6 pm news is a huge step for her career. As well as for the representation of the Maori people.
I’m not speechless, but it’s a buzz. I am proud of how far I’ve come in being able to anchor 6.00pm right now.
It’s definitely a step forward, and a step-up. If there was a goal for me, it would be anchoring prime time news, and that’s happened.Stuff
Kaipara is fully aware of how important this role is for the native people of New Zealand. As well as for all people of color. She made several statements to Stuff about how seriously she takes this.