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Journalist Becomes First Person To Read Primetime News With Māori Face Tattoo

journalist face tattoo maori
@oriinz/Instagram

On Monday, December 27, journalist Oriini Kaipara made history by becoming the first person to ever read a primetime news bulletin with a Māori face tattoo, the Daily Mail reports. Kaipara was asked to fill in for hosts Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts for the 6 PM news bulletin on Newshub.

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The 37-year-old was tattooed with her chin tattoo in 2017, after taking a DNA test and discovering she was 100 percent Māori. The tattoo is called a moko kauae, and is traditionally worn by Māori women. She has said it was one of her lifelong dreams to read the primetime news with her tattoo.

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Kaipara was interviewed by Stuff about fulfilling her dream and said, “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. 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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She said that there’s a “good team at Newshub” and she has found it to be a better environment than earlier in her career, adding, “But that comes with doing the hard yards, and then actually realizing it and doing it is really exciting.”

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Kaipara has also worked at TVNZ but left in May for a role with Three, and was then given a job presenting in the 4:30 PM slot on Newshub Live, but she’s aiming to find a permanent spot on the 6 PM slot.

“I’ve been realizing for a while that it’s much bigger than just reading the news, or doing stories that matter to all of us,” she said. “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. It’s breaking new ground for us as Māori, but also for people of color. Whether you’ve got a moko kauae or not.”