Woman becomes the first-ever newscaster with a Mori face tattoo

Oriini Kaipara created history when she became the first person to present primetime news while sporting a Maori face tattoo. Monday’s edition of the 6 o’clock news on Newshub was hosted by Oriini Kaipara, who filled in for Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts, the show’s regular hosts.

Although Kaipara is scheduled to take over the 4.30 p.m. newscast on a permanent basis, she would also like the opportunity to host the 6 p.m. show. 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 has a moko kauae, which is a sacred tattoo on the bottom of her chin that Mori women have. In 2017, Kaipara told Indy100 that she got the tattoo after taking a DNA test that showed she was 100 percent Māori.

Kaipara, who is 37 years old, said that she knew how important the moment was. She shared: “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 is a former documentary filmmaker and is descended from the tribes of Thoe, Ngti Awa, Twharetoa, and Ngti Rangitihi. She aired the midday newscast on TVNZ in 2019, but being given the opportunity to present the prime time news was a significant advancement for both Kaipara and her community as a whole. She said: “It’s breaking new ground for us as Māori, but also for people of color. Whether you’ve got a moko kauae or not.”