Oriini Kaipara angry at artist 'profiting off my whakapapa' by selling $1200 portrait of her online

Oriini Kaipara has angrily hit out at an artist using her image without consent.
Oriini Kaipara has angrily hit out at an artist using her image without consent. Photo credit: Instagram - Oriini Kaipara

Former Newshub presenter Oriini Kaipara is angry an artist is trying to make money off her likeness without her knowledge or consent.

The picture of Kaipara by artist Warren Thomas was uploaded to an online marketplace with a price tag of $1200, but has subsequently been removed.

Thomas had written online that the "moko tattoos have always inspired me" before sharing the picture which he said was a "tribute".

Kaipara expressed her frustration via social media.

"Here we go again," she began a lengthy Instagram post.

"Firstly, thank you to those who've got in touch to let me know these are online. Clearly my own plight and the public uproar that occurred a couple of years ago when this exact portrait of me was painted by a budding non-Māori artist without my knowledge or consent didn't register far and wide. 

"It's the same case with this mahi (work)."

She then launched into the artist for his ignorance in taking her image without consent.

"Dude, you're charging $1200 for a picture you painted of me. You're from Africa. You've been in Aotearoa five minutes and have already assumed it's okay to take a complete stranger's face and make money off it.

"The answer is NO. Donate those proceeds to the local kōhanga reo in your area. You can Google it. Then, I suggest you sit with the whānau of that kōhanga reo to gain understanding of te ao Māori and why I'm not okay about you profiting off my whakapapa."

She ended her post by pleading with the artist to find out more before committing artworks like this to canvas in future.

"Oh, by the way, you can google the story I did with the artist of the last portrait. It's a tool to educate anyone considering doing what you've done. It would help immensely."

In August 2022, Kaipara revealed spoke out after a viewer wrote in continually complaining about her "moku".

Kaipara shared a screenshot of the correspondence on her social media at the time, in which a commenter called 'David' said: "We continue to object strongly to you using a Māori news presenter with a moku [sic] which is offensive and aggressive looking."

She captioned the post: "This guy is one of 'those gifts' that keeps on giving", before revealing, "Today I broke my own code and hit the send button".

Kaipara shared the response she sent to 'David', in which she said: "I gather your complaints stem from a place of how one must look on-screen, according to you.

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

She ended the reply by asking him to "please refrain from complaining further, and restrain your cultural ignorance and bias for another lifetime, preferably in the 1800s".

Kaipara told Newshub she felt the constant complaints had been triggering to her and her whānau and iwi Māori.