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07th Jan 2024

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

Callum Boyle


The viewer was quickly put in their place

A newsreader quickly put a viewer in their place after they complained about her traditional chin tattoo.

Oriini Kaipara made history by becoming the first newsreader to have a Māori chin tattoo.

The markings are recognised as a mark of honour in traditional Polynesian society, as well as signifying a symbol of power.

When making her debut on New Zealand television in 2019,  Kaipara was praised for representing the Māori people but viewer ‘David’ wasn’t so keen, claiming it was “too aggressive”.

Kaipara admitted that she doesn’t usually respond to negative comments however she decided to share the reaction she sent to David.

Posting to her Instagram story, Kaipara shared a screenshot of an email sent to her and the rest of the newsroom.

It said: “We continue to object strongly to you using a Māori newsreader with a moku which is offensive and aggressive looking. A bad look.”

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

The journalist came out of the conversation with her stock even higher after replying: “Thank you for all your complaints against me and my ‘moku’.

“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.”

She continued: “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.”

She finished by saying: “Please refrain from complaining further, and restrain your cultural ignorance and bias for another lifetime, preferably in the 1800s.

“Nga mihi matakuikui o te wa. Oriini Kaipara (The lady with the moko kauwae who speaks Māori but MOSTLY English on TV).”

Two years on from the complaint, Kaipara is still the face of Newshub in New Zealand.

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