Māori journalist Oriini Kaipara becomes the first person with face markings to present the best news

Written by Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

A Maori journalist has made history in New Zealand by becoming the first person with traditional face markings to host a primetime news program on national television.

Oriini Kaipara made headlines around the world after hosting his first bulletin at. 18 for Newshub on the TV channel Three, where many praised the milestone as a victory for the Maori representation.

“I was really elated. I was over the moon,” Kaipara told CNN the moment she found out she wanted to cover the primetime slot. “It’s a huge honor. I do not know how to deal with the emotions.”

Kaipara’s presentation role on Christmas Day was the first of six consecutive days that covered the primetime news show’s permanent anchors, though her efforts will continue in early January, and she said she may be called back in the future.

The 38-year-old is already the permanent anchor in the 4.30pm “Newshub Live” bulletin and wrote previous history in 2019 while working for TVNZ when she became the first person with Maori face markings to present a mainstream TV show. news program.

In the tradition of the Māori people, who are the original people of what is now New Zealand, face markings are tattooed on the chin for women and known as moko kauae, while for men they cover most of the face and are known as mataora.

Kaipara got her “moko” in January 2019, which she says was a personal decision she made for fundamental reasons, to remind her of her power and identity as a Maori woman.

“When I doubt myself and I see my reflection in the mirror, I do not just look at myself,” Kaipara told CNN. “I’m looking at my grandmother and my mother, and my daughters and her to come after me, as well as all the other women, Maori girls out there, and that’s strengthening me.”

Māori news host Oriini Kaipara with his colleagues on Newshub.

Māori news host Oriini Kaipara with his colleagues on Newshub. Credit: origin via instagram

After starting her career in 2005, Kaipara said hosting the primetime newscast was the “pinnacle” of her journalistic dreams, even though it was a “bittersweet moment” because her mother, who recently died, could not share the moment. with her.

Despite all the positive comments, there have also been negative reactions to Kaipara’s presentation, especially as she often uses Maori phrases such as “E haere ake nei” (still to come), “Ū tonu mai” (stay with us) and ” Taihoa e haere “(do not go straight yet).

The Māori language is extremely important to Kaipara. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to encourage people to speak the language that was “knocked out of my grandmother’s generation” and regain it for the Maori.

“We still have not dealt with a lot of intergenerational trauma and colonization, and for the Maori it is also very, very relevant and gripping,” Kaipara said. “Not much in terms of race conditions here has changed in a very long time.”

But the “enormity” of the event was not lost on her, and in many ways it was a moment in full circle for Kaipara, who was inspired by Māori TV news host Tini Molyneux when she was a young girl.

“She was my idol,” Kaipara told CNN. “She had the same skin color as me … she sounded like me, she looked like me. And she comes from where I originally came from, my family, whakapapa (ancestors), where are ancestral ties to our country.”

Kaipara hopes young Maori girls will take inspiration from her story as a sign that times are changing.

“For a long time, our people, our ancestors, our tipuna and us have now done so much work to get to where we are,” Kaipara told CNN. “As a young woman, as a young Maori, influences and influences what you do today, what happens tomorrow. So all I ask is that they see the beauty of being a Maori, and they embrace it and recognize it and do what they can with it for positive change. ”

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