Māori news anchor becomes first woman in New Zealand to present with traditional chin tattoo

·2-min read

A reporter in New Zealand has become the first person to present a prime time news programme with a traditional Māori chin tattoo.

Oriini Kaipara, 37, presented Newshub Live at 6pm this week with a moko kauae – a traditional tattoo worn by Māori women.

The mother-of-four, from Auckland, said presenting the show had fulfilled a life-long dream and she hoped it would encourage other Māori women to enter the industry.

“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 has previously worked on Māori Television and broadcasting with Mai FM.

A DNA test in 2017 revealed her ancestry was 98 per cent Maori, with the remaining two per cent unclear.

Writing after the test, she said “being Maori 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,” she wrote.

“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.”

Some New Zealanders with indigenous Māori heritage wear tattoos on their face or arms that represent their genealogy and are culturally sacred.

The tattoos, known as ‘Tā Moko’ are a deeply sacred expression of cultural identity.

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