Māori broadcaster becomes first to anchor news with traditional chin tattoo – USA TODAY

A New Zealand reporter has made history by becoming the first person to anchor news with a traditional Māori chin tattoo, Newshub reported. 

On Christmas day, ​Oriini Kaipara, who has a moko kauae, presented on Newshub Live for the first time, accomplishing a dream to represent Māori women.

“I’m very much aware that I’m the first [with moko kauae] to anchor a six o’clock primetime news bulletin,” she told Newshub.

Māori tattooing or Tā moko reprsents family heritage and social status and is a rite of passage for Māori women, according to New Zealand‘s tourism site. The main lines in a Māori tattoo are called manawa, which is the Māori word for heart and represent your life journey. Traditionally tā moko artists used a chisel to scar and mark the skin while the modern tool is a tattoo machine.

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In 2017, through a DNA test, Kaipara discovered she was almost 100% Māori. Just 2% of her ancestry was something other than Māori, The Telegraph reported.

“In New Zealand, many believed there are no full-blood Māori left. It’s often been used by critics of Māori who seek equal rights and sovereignty. My results, at least, show there is one full-blooded Māori contrary to that belief,” Kaipara told The Telegraph.

To this day, in interviews she said she believes there are more “full-blooded” Māori in the world than previously thought. Kaipara herself was raised in Māori culture and speaks the language, reo.

Before joining Newshub, she worked on TVNZ’s te reo news show Te Karere, on Māori Television and broadcasting with Mai FM. Kaipara said she’s aware and proud that she’s opening doors for Māori and women of color in broadcasting.

“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 color. Whether you’ve got a moko kauae or not,” told Newshub. 

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda