A Kiwi newsreader has made history by becoming the first person to anchor a TV news bulletin with a face tattoo. Oriini Kaipara, 37, who has a moko kauae, a traditional lower chin tattoo worn by Māori women, read Newshub Live’s 6pm news bulletin on Monday. The mother-of-four from Auckland said the moment fulfilled a lifelong dream and hoped she was the first in a long line of Maori women reading the news with traditional tattoos.
‘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,’ she told Stuff.
Kaipara made headlines in 2019 when she became the first person with face tatts to present mainstream news when filling in for TVNZ’s midday broadcast. She regularly does packages for the main bulletin, becoming a fan favourite because of her Maori markings. ‘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.’
Kaipara is bilingual and of Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Rangitihi descent, something she proudly displays while working as a prominent journalist. ‘I’m very much aware that I’m the first [with moko kauae] to anchor a six o’clock primetime news bulletin.’ she said. ‘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.’
In 2017, a DNA test revealed Kaipara was 100 per cent Moari. 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.
Social media photos from January 2019 show her surrounded by family while a tattooist inscribes her moko kauae.
Lana Walker – Beautiful lady respecting the culture well done to her n the news station
Patrick Oleary – She looks amazing I would like to see more unique people. She is also very classy and representing her people magnificently
Yozefu Mbaziira – Only A person who does not have any Idea about their heritage, ancestry or culture Will not understand the significance of this beautiful lady Wearing her tradition and culture so proudly!
Delores Potter – I do not know about her culture or what the tattoo signifies. However if it is important to her and helps her identify with her culture More power to her. She is a beautiful woman and should be judged on how she does her job .
Laura James – I’m all for this, I don’t have any issues with tattoos at all but I would love to know how many of these people that say it looks great, would accept it if it wasn’t done for her culture.
Steven Lincoln – What is a Maori Face Tattoo ? What is the meaning? Tribal ? Family History? Culture ? It obviously has significant meaning to be done on her face! It adds to her beauty.
Neil Hanna – The tattoo looks absolutely horrendous, whilst we’re all supposed to be very PC these days the cold hard reality is it’s very hard for people to take people seriously who have tattoos on their face.