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Māori TV presenter responds gracefully to criticism, advocates for Māori representation

Joseph Guenzler -

Oriini Kaipara, from the Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Awa and Tūhoe iwi's (tribe), recently responded to an online troll who took issue with the Māori presenters Moku kauae.

Moko kauae are received by Māori women on their lips and chin.

A moko kauae represents a woman's whānau (family) and leadership within her community, recognising her whakapapa (one's ancestry), status, and abilities.

It is a traditional taonga (highly treasured possession) passed down over many generations from the ancestress Niwareka.

Mrs Kaipara wears her moko kauae proudly. (Image: Instagram)

Mrs Kaipara, a pioneering TV host, became the first to anchor a prime time news program in New Zealand with a moko kauae. 

Yet despite the recognition, a viewer named David expressed his dissatisfaction with Kaipara's moko kauae through an email to Newshub.

"We continue to object strongly to you using a Māori newsreader with a moku [moko] which is offensive and aggressive looking," he wrote, per the Daily Mail.

"A bad look. She also bursts into the Māori language which we do not understand. Stop it now."

Screenshot from Mrs. Kaipara's Instagram Story. (Image: Entertainmentmind)

Unfazed by David's critical comments, Mrs Kaipara tackled the matter directly, posting screenshots of his messages on her Instagram story and replying with poise and respect.

Screenshot from Mrs. Kaipara's Instagram Story. (Image: Entertainmentmind)

Kaipara promptly countered David’s negativity by emphasising that she predominantly receives positive feedback, with instances of harsh criticism being rare.

In an interview with the New Zealand Herald following her response to David’s complaint, Kaipara highlighted the significance of having more Māori advocates.

"The fact that my existence triggers some people is testament to why we need more Māori advocates in key roles across every sector,” she said.

Mrs Kaipara’s composed reaction stands as a potent reminder of the value of cultural pride and resilience in confronting adversity.

Her example inspires others to embrace their identities boldly and confront discriminatory views without hesitation.

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