Journalist becomes first person with Māori face tattoo to present primetime news

A journalist in New Zealand has made history as the first-ever person to present a primetime news bulletin with a Māori face tattoo.

Oriini Kaiapara read the 6pm news bulletin on Monday for New Zealand's news platform, Newshub, after she was asked to fill in for the show's usual presenter Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts.

The 37-year-old star identifies as Māori – the indigenous Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand.

Typical in Māori tradition, Oriini also has a chin tattoo – called a moko kauae- a lower chin tattoo traditionally worn by Māori women.

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.

The newsreader explained she got the tattoo in 2017 after discovering she was 100% Māori via a DNA test.

Reflecting on her dream, she said: "I'm not speechless, but it's a buzz. I am proud of how far I've come in being able to anchor 6.00pm 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."

"I've been realising for a while that it's much bigger than just reading the news, or doing stories that matter to all of us."

"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."

The journalist is breaking boundaries and is currently set to read the news on New Zealand's until Thursday, December 30.

Māori facial and body tattooing, known as Tā moko, represents the wearer's family heritage and social status.

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