Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous voices – our cousins, our aunties, our elders, our heroes. Rosanna Deerchild guides us on the path to better understand our shared story. Together, we learn and unlearn, laugh and become gentler in all our relations.
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Last December, journalist Oriini Kaipara made international headlines when she became New Zealand’s first news anchor to wear Māori face markings - known as moko kauae - on primetime television. And, in 2020, Māori MP Nanaia Muhata brought the markings to the international stage when she was appointed foreign affairs minister.
For Julie Paama-Pengelly, it’s a dream come true. The Māori artist and activist has spent decades pushing for the markings to become more mainstream. But is there danger in becoming too popular? Paama-Pengelly talks with Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild about the risks of non-Māori appropriating the tradition and about why it took her until her 50s to receive her own moko kauae.
Isaac Murdoch also wears sacred markings on his face. The Anishinaabek storyteller and traditional knowledge keeper from Serpent River First Nation explains the significance of the Thunderbird tattoos that fly along his hairline. They represent a sacred story he learned as a child and dreamt about as an adult.
And, what skills did you pick up during the pandemic? Aedan Corey, a young Inuk from Nunavut, learned how to apply traditional Inuit tattoos, then made the bold move of tattooing their own face. Corey tells Deerchild the new markings feel like “coming home.”