The capacity to evaluate is the one trait that distinguishes humans from other animals as superior species. Because of a talent that has been honed over the course of hundreds of years, we have experienced both success and failure on several occasions. And as the globe continues to grow and become more interconnected via different forms of media, opinions are more readily expressed than they have ever been before.
And yet, throughout the course of those years, we have not been able to institutionalize the idea of respecting one another, or at the very least, knowing when and how to keep one’s mouth shut when appropriate. Do not comment on anything that you do not fully comprehend. Find out more about it. Consider your assessments and think about where they came from. On the other hand, this is a narrative about the opposing side, about those people who believe that their opinions are important enough to be paid heed to.
A guy who disapproved of a New Zealand news anchor’s appearance only because he thought she had a traditional facial tattoo that was emblematic of her Mori background had been sending her complaints. The anchor had a face tattoo that depicted a traditional Mori design. After a certain point, she decided that enough was enough, and she replied in a way that made it quite apparent to everyone that rudeness would not be accepted.
Oriini Kaipara, a news anchor for New Zealand’s Three News who has a traditional tattoo on her face, received concerns from a male viewer and answered in the most professional manner imaginable.
Oriini Kaipara made history in New Zealand last year when she became the first person to present national primetime news in the country while also having moko kauae, which are traditional Maori marks on the chin. In December of 2021, she presented her first bulletin on Newshub, and many people applauded the momentous occasion as a victory for Maori representation.
Oriini made waves when she became the first news anchor to present national primetime news while also sporting a moko kauae, which is the customary facial tattoo worn by Maori people.
Tmoko is a distinctive way for Maori people to express their cultural history and sense of identity via the art of tattooing. Because Maori people hold the head to be the holiest portion of the body, face tattoos have a particular place in their culture. Women in Moko Kauae communities have tattoos on their lips and chins called moko kauae. These tattoos signify the women’s genealogy, standing within the group, and skills. It is a custom that originated with Niwareka, an ancestor, and has been carried down through the generations.
Before the introduction of European settlers, the intricate motifs of ta moko were carved into the flesh. Ta moko is still practiced today. In this technique of tattooing, broad-toothed combs of varying widths are dipped in black pigment, and then they are pounded into the skin with little mallets called t. This creates a permanent mark that may last a lifetime. Soot derived from the combustion of kahikatea, also known as white pine, was used as the pigment. On occasion, it was combined with kauri gum or soot collected from the koromiko (hebe) plant.
Even while many people complimented her for paying tribute to her heritage, there were other people, like David, who thought the way she was dressed was “offensive and violent looking.”
In spite of the fact that she was lauded for respecting her heritage, there were many who were shocked by her actions.
One individual made it his life’s work to harp on her on-air appearance at every opportunity. Because of her appearance and her use of the Maori language, the guy who goes by the name David has been writing letters to the news channel, requesting that they remove her from her position as a news anchor.
Oriini posted one of his comments on her Instagram stories, and it read as follows: “We continue to oppose vehemently to you utilizing a Maori news presenter with a moku (sic) which is disrespectful and violent looking. A poor look. In addition to that, she starts speaking in Mori, which none of us can comprehend. Put a stop to it right now.”
This was the last straw for her, and she’d had enough of his inconsiderate treatment of her. She commented in the Instagram post, “This man is one of ‘those’ presents that keep on giving…” (also known as “gifts that keep on giving”) “He never stops complaining about my MOKU and the fact that I have an aggressive appearance. Instead of contacting me directly, he is communicating with the whole tari kawe p’rongo. I’ve had enough for today.”
David had made many calls to the news agency, but he had never spoken to Oriini personally, and she finally lost her patience. She made the decision to deviate from her protocol and respond to him personally.
The following is how her reaction went: “Kia ora (translation: hello) David, I am grateful for all of the criticisms you have leveled at me and my’moku.’ Given that there does not seem to be any violation of the criteria for broadcasting, I find it extremely difficult to take them seriously. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to point out that one of your statements is incorrect; the proper word is moko, not moku. You will be able to express the world more accurately if you use a straightforward and useful pronunciation guide like “Maw-Caw.”
She went on to remark, “I assume your criticisms derive from a desire on how one must seem on television, according to you, according to what I’ve gathered from your statements.” People who have Moko are not dangerous, and they do not deserve to be subjected to discrimination, harassment, or prejudice because of their appearance.
Oriini told the man, “We intend no harm or ill purpose nor do we/I deserve to be treated with such contempt.” She then asked the man to bring his cultural ignorance back to the 1800s.
“Moko are traditional facial marks that are only seen on members of Aotearoa’s indigenous population, including me. We have no ill will or malicious purpose, and neither do you nor I deserve to be treated with such contempt.
“We ask that you stop making any additional complaints and that you put your prejudice and cultural insensitivity aside for another lifetime, ideally in the 1800s.” She thanked him for his time in the Māori language and signed the letter as “the woman with the moko kauae who talks Māori but MOSTLY English on TV.” With love and a good dose of cheek!
“The fact that my presence triggers some individuals is proof of why we need more Mori advocates in critical positions across all sectors,” she added. “[T]he fact that my existence triggers some people is a testament to why we need more Mori advocates in key
Oriini does, thankfully, get a vast majority of letters that are encouraging to her, thus these words stand out as anomalies. According to what she told the New Zealand Herald, “the fact that my presence provokes certain individuals is proof to why we need more Maori champions in critical jobs across every sector.” 
“Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. The achievement of goals is not the result of the efforts of a single person but of the combined efforts of many.
“When I question myself, and I see my image in the mirror, I’m not just looking at myself,” she said to CNN. “I’m looking at everyone around me.”
“I’m looking at my grandma and my mother, as well as my children and those that will come after me, in addition to all the other women and Mori girls who are out there.” It gives me confidence.
After having a DNA test in 2017, which revealed that Oriini was Mori to a one hundred percent, she decided in 2019 that she wanted to have the tattoo. She is descended from the Twharetoa, Ngai Awa, and Ngai Rangitihi tribes respectively. She shared her insight with CNN, saying, “When I question myself, and I see my image in the mirror, I’m not just looking at myself.” “I’m looking at my grandma and my mother, as well as my children and those that will come after me, in addition to all the other women and Mori girls who are out there.” It gives me confidence.
She is also a fervent supporter of the Mori language, and she often uses expressions like “E haere ake nei” (yet to come), ” tonu mai” (remain with us), and “Taihoa e here” (don’t leave just yet). According to what she told CNN, her ultimate objective is to regain for Mori people a language that was “beaten out of [her] grandmother’s generation.” She wants to do this by encouraging other people to learn the language.
Oriini said that “we still haven’t addressed a lot of intergenerational traumas and colonialism,” and for Maori people, this is something that is very, very current and tragic as well. Since a very long time ago, there hasn’t been much of a shift in how people here feel towards each other based on their race. However, this is just the beginning of things.
Oriini has high expectations that the tale she has to tell will serve as a source of motivation for future generations of Maori youngsters and that they will see that the times are, in fact, changing. She told CNN that “for a long time our people, our ancestors, our tipuna, and us today, have done so much effort to get to where we are.” “For a long time our people, our ancestors, our tipuna, and us now,” she said.
Oriini has high expectations that her narrative will serve as a source of motivation for both the current and future generations of young Mori people, and that it will show them that the times are, in fact, changing.
“As a young woman and as a young Maori, the decisions and actions you make today will influence and affect the future you create. My one and only request are that they see the value in being Maori, that they accept and honor their heritage, and that they use it to effect as much good change as they are able.
We hope that the future holds nothing but success and happiness for Oriini and that she continues to show grace in the face of criticism. Please share your opinions with us in the comments section below, and be sure to upvote and follow the author so that we may continue to see justice served! Poroporoaki mo naianei!
Oriini has received nothing but positive feedback from others, with many praising the sophistication and sass she displayed in her response. Leave a comment below telling us what you think about this topic.