group of Maori women

Journalist Makes History By Becoming First Person With Maori Face Tattoo To Present News

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.

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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.

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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
Image Credit: Oriini Kaipara | Instagram

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.

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However, the 6 pm news is a huge step for her career. As well as for the representation of the Maori people.

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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.

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Kaipara had been “overwhelmed” by the positive responses to her appearance on the prime time bulletin.
Image Credit: Lawrence Smith | Stuff

Read: Dad sat through 30 hours of tattoo pain so his son would feel better about birthmark

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“I’m very much aware that I’m the first [with moko kauae] to anchor a six o’clock primetime news bulletin. 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.

Stuff

Inspiring others seems to come naturally for Kaipara, who had these final words to say about her position as a newscaster of color.

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“I’ve been realising for a while that it’s much bigger than just reading the news, or doing stories that matter to all of us. It’s also a big win for this generation and the next 10 generations – don’t let identity or your culture hold you back from anything. In fact, you use it as your power, to be greater and do great things for everyone.”

Stuff

Plans for the Future

Kaipara hopes that future generations will take note of her actions, and stand up for their traditions. The Maori people have has their customs and history ‘beaten out of them‘ according to Kaipara, and she wants her people to be proud of who they are. And where they come from.

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For a long time our people, our ancestors, our tipuna, and us now, have done so much work to get to where we are,” Kaipara told CNN. “As a young woman, as a young Māori, what you do today influences and affects what happens tomorrow. So all I ask is that they see the beauty in being Māori and they embrace it and acknowledge that and do what they can with it for positive change.”

CNN

Keep Reading: How a 7-year-old won the battle to make female toy soldiers

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Sources

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  1. Groundbreaking Newshub presenter Oriini Kaipara makes history again on primetime bulletin.” Stuff. David Skipwith. December 27, 2021
  2. Māori journalist becomes first person with facial markings to present primetime news.” CNN. Jeevan Ravindran. December 31, 2021
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years of experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13-year-old boy.
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