New Zealand news presenter, Oriini Kaipara, made history by becoming the first-ever person to present primetime news with a Māori face tattoo.

The “inspiring” 37-year-old first made headlines in 2019 when she presented TVNZ’s midday broadcast, wearing her moko kauae with pride (a sacred Māori tattoo on the lower chin). On Monday (December 27), she graced screens as a temporary placement for Newhub’s regular 6:00 pm hosts, Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts.

“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,” she said.

“It’s really exciting. I’m really enjoying it. I’m not speechless, but it’s a buzz. I am proud of how far I’ve come in being able to anchor 6 pm right now,” Kaipara toldStuff.

“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.”

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Who is Oriini Kaipara?

Oriini Kaipara is a 37-year-old award-winning journalist from New Zealand, who is of Ngati Awa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Rangitihi, and Ngai Tuhoe descent.

The mother-of-four currently hosts Newshub Live at 4:30 pm on Channel Three NZ but hopes to take up a role as a permanent presenter on a primetime 6:00 pm bulletin.

Kaipara has been associated with the New Zealand media industry for over two decades, having previously worked with TVNZ1, Māori Television and Mai FM.

Earlier in the year, she left TVNZ1 to join Three in hopes of shaping “a positive bicultural” society in New Zealand.

In 2019, Oriini Kaipara became the first person with a moko kauae to present mainstream TV. She later made history hosting the primetime 6:00 pm bulletin.

Speaking about her current company, she said: “We’ve got a good team at Newshub, I don’t feel the pressure as much as I used to when I first started out in journalism.

“But that comes with doing the hard yards, and then actually realising it and doing it is really exciting.”

What is a Moko Kauae?

A moko kauae is a sacred facial tattoo representing a Māori woman’s whānau (extended family) that recognises a woman’s mana (power of inherited elemental force), abilities, status and commitment to the collective.

According to Stuff, it also marks a woman’s service and leadership to her community.

The moko kauae also pays homage to traditional taonga (a cultural treasure) passed from ancestress Niwareka across numerous generations.

The ancient Māori practice of moko kauae began to fade away when New Zealand was colonised in the 1800s but was later revived in the 1990s as a symbol of “identity, pride, and ancestral treasure.

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