This just ink! Newsreader makes history by becoming the first journalist to front a broadcast with a face tattoo
- Oriini Kaipara, 35, became the first journalist to read the news with a face tattoo
- Kaipara has a moko kauae, a traditional lower chin tattoo worn by Māori women
- The Auckland mother-of-four read TVNZ 1’s midday news bulletin Wednesday
- Kaipara’s achievement signified an accomplishment on behalf of her culture
- She got the tattoo after a DNA test in 2017 revealed she is uniquely 100% Māori
A female journalist has made history by becoming the first person to present a TV news program with a face tattoo.
Oriini Kaipara, 35, who has a moko kauae, a traditional lower chin tattoo worn by Māori women, read TVNZ 1’s midday news bulletin on Wednesday.
The mother-of-four from Auckland said the moment fulfilled a lifelong dream.
‘Back in August, thanks to a beautiful woman whom I’ve long admired and idolise, I began to take seriously a lifelong goal of being a news anchor on mainstream TV,’ she wrote on Facebook.
Oriini Kaipara, 35, has a moko kauae, a traditional lower chin tattoo worn by Māori women
‘I’m trying hard not to cry happy/scared/excited/proud/ nervous tears of joy!!
‘This is for us. All of us.’
Ocean Mercier, head of Victoria University’s School of Te Kawa a Māui- Māori Studies said someone wearing a moko kauae on the state broadcaster was a huge accomplishment.
‘[It’s] a pretty awesome signal of how far society has come in terms of accepting expression of culture,’ she told Stuff.
Mercier said moko kauae were prominent in photos taken of Māori women around the time of colonisation in New Zealand.
She said they had since declined because there was shame attached to them that is associated with colonisation.
The mother-of-four said of the cultural accomplishment: ‘This is for us. All of us.’
‘Today there is a revitalisation of those who are wearing them… that shame and that fear has been not stripped away, [but] people are feeling more confident and free to wear these with confidence and with pride.
Mercier added that Kaipara bearing the cultural symbol on the news creates visibility that helps to further normalise aspects of Maori culture.
Kaipara is also a presenter on the te reo bulletin and has previously worked for Māori Television and Mai FM.
Commentators applauded the broadcaster on Facebook for embracing the Māori tradition.
One person wrote: Good on you TVNZ leading the way in things Maori with our Breakfast Show hosts learning the reo being able to use it on Air, so cool!!! thank you!!!!’
Kaipara pictured on TVNZ 1’s midday broadcast on Wednesday where she became the first journalist to read the news with a face tattoo
‘Thank you TVNZ for leading the way in mainstream televsion broadcasting yet again,’ read another.
In 2017, Kaipara, who is of is of Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa descent, made headlines when a DNA test revealed she is 100% Māori.
Social media photos from January 2019 show her surrounded by family while a tattooist inscribes her moko kauae.
Māori facial and body tattooing, known as Tā moko, represents the wearer’s family heritage and social status.
For Māori women the moko was a rite of passage, marking the passage between girl and adulthood and symbolises a personal process of transformation.