An “inspiring” newsreader has made history as the first person with a Māori face tattoo to present primetime news.

Oriini Kaipara hosted Newshub’s 6 o’clock news on Monday (December 27) to fill in for regular hosts Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts. She is set to take up a permanent role for the news outlet’s 4.30pm bulletin but hopes to become a presenter for the 6.00pm slot.

Kaipara explained that she got the tattoo in 2017 after a DNA test revealed she was 100 per cent Māori. The moko kauae – a sacred lower chin tattoo worn by Māori women – garnered much positive attention online, with one expressing the importance of “preserving culture in these kinds of diverse, human and beautiful ways.”

Talking to Stuff, 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 6pm right now.”

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“It’s breaking new ground for us as Māori, but also for people of colour,” she said. “Whether you’ve got a moko kauae or not.”

“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,” she added.

Social feeds were flooded with love and support for the journalist, with many “hoping this 6pm news slot is made permanent for Oriini.”

The 37-year-old first made headlines when she presented TVNZ’s midday broadcast in 2019.

“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.

“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.”

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