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27th Aug 2022

Newsreader hits back at viewer who called her Maori face tattoo a ‘bad look’

Steve Hopkins

Oriini Kaipara made history – then she shut down a critic in the best way possible

A newsreader in New Zealand has issued the perfect response to a viewer who took issue with her Māori face tattoo which he deemed “offensive and aggressive looking”

Oriini Kaipara made history and headlines around the world last year when she read the 6pm nightly news bulletin for Newshub with the traditional chin tattoo, called a moko kauae. The marking, worn over the lips and chin, represents a woman’s family and position within her community.

While the achievement was recognised and celebrated globally, it didn’t go down well with a viewer called ‘David’.

But rather than letting his criticism slide, Kaipara hit back at the aggrieved viewer, firstly by sharing the complaint he made to her newsroom on Instagram stories, and then by putting him in his place. Way back in 1800s.

Kaipara shared a screenshot of an email the man sent Newshub, which read: “We continue to object strongly to you using a Māori newsreader with a moku which is offensive and aggressive looking. A bad look.

“She also bursts into the Māori language which we do not understand. Stop it now.”

Kaipara went on to put David in his place, doing so rather politely at first.

She started with a traditional New Zealand greeting, writing, “Kia ora David”, then thanked him for “all your complaints against me and my ‘moku'”.

Kaipara continued: “I do find them very difficult to take seriously given there is no breach of broadcast standards.

“If I may, I’d like to correct you on one thing – it is moko not moku.

“A simple, helpful pronunciation guide of ‘Maw-Caw’ will help you articulate the word correctly.

“I gather your complaints stem from a place of preference on how one must look on-screen, according to you.

“Moko and people with them are not threatening, nor do they deserve such discrimination, harassment or prejudice.

“Moko are ancient cultural markings unique to the indigenous people of Aotearoa, myself included.”

Kaipara ended her post by asking David to “please refrain from complaining further” and asked him to “restrain your cultural ignorance and bias for another lifetime, preferably in the 1800s”.

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