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TVNZ’s Oriini Kaipara, who wears a moko kauae, fulfils lifelong ambition of reading mainstream news bulletin

TVNZ’s Oriini Kaipara has fulfilled a lifelong goal of reading the news on a mainstream TV broadcast.

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Oriini Kaipara presented 1 NEWS’ Midday bulletin today. Source: 1 NEWS

Kaipara, who wears a moko kauae, presented 1 NEWS’ Midday bulletin today.

It’s believed she is one of the first people to present a mainstream news bulletin with a moko kauae.

Kaipara, who also presents Te Karere, said she hopes today sets a precedent for other stations and ethnicities around the world to embrace their own indigenous cultures.

"I hope so, that they embrace their indigenous cultures just the way TVNZ has done today, and yes, there's Te Karere but that's not the same. That's the tiny Māori outfit in amongst the giant beast. Just because there is a Māori dedicated show on 1 NEWS, doesn't mean that we're all confined to that one space. We deserve to be in the other spaces as well, moko or no moko, reo or no reo.

"Every race, we all deserve to be represented in the best way possible."

Speaking after the show, Kaipara said she was still on a high from the "surreal" experience.

"Today was awesome, I actually really enjoyed it.

CREATING SPACE FOR MĀORI

"It about just creating space for Māori, particularly, and also Pacific Island cultures, every culture, indigenising mainstream channels to normalise what already is, what already exists out there. My success is everyone's success."

Kaipara, who started newsreading when she was 20, said she was thankful and proud of TVNZ for allowing her the opportunity to be a part of a mainstream bulletin, adding it had been a dream of hers since she was a child.

"It's 1 NEWS, for me it's a big deal. For me, it's not a responsibility but it's more I've got all of Māoridom on my shoulders and my back and I'm just proud to be a Māori and I was looking forward to representing us in the best way I possibly could with my head held high, with dignity and class, but also being true to myself, being as authentic as I possibly could.

"I did try and keep as much reo as I could but bearing in mind and being respectful that I am on 1 NEWS and the target audience is much different to Te Karare or any other Māori programme.

"I feel the pressure but it's welcome, I welcome the pressure of it."

When Kaipara got her moko in January she was the first on her dad's side and one of the first on her mother's side to do so.

"My moko is very personal," she said, talking about the nine month journey and responsibility that came with it. 

"It means te reo, so that's really the essence of what it is," Kaipara said, explaining that as a public figure and someone working in television her artist felt her purpose was to share the language.

When asked about negative comments about her presenting with a moko, Kaipara said she used to let the negativity get to her but now it doesn't concern her. 

FEEDBACK

"When the moko came I just literally didn't care, whether I'm on TV or not I had people look at me," she said.

"Obviously there's been a lot of great, positive feedback, beautiful humbling words, and some not so nice, but hey, I'm not laughing at it but I just think 'come on, it's time to wake up'. I'm not saying I'm the one that's going to wake everyone up, but I hope I have."

Kaipara said sometimes negative stereotypes were attached to the moko.

"It's not the case at all, I know who I am and I know what I represent and how I conduct myself and I just try to be the best person I am."

Kaipara said she doesn't know where the end point is for her, but being on the 6pm news is a big goal. She said she vibed well with Jack Tame so would love to present alongside him one day.

Kaipara has also previously worked for Māori Television and Mai FM.

She is of Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa descent, and created headlines around the world when a DNA test came back showing she was “100 per cent Māori”.