Critics frequently used this argument to counter the push for indigenous rights but now its clear I am a full-blooded Mori. And “theres been” others

Mum! You didnt tell me youre 100% Mori! My daughter Te Aomihia stormed my chamber this morning brimming with pride, I merely read it on the internet!

Yes. I kept research results quiet even from my four children, two of whom are teenagers with social media circles that surpass my own. I remained mum on what I was told would be a huge deal. I never thought of my results in that way, I still dont.

Outside work, I told only two people about my results; my mum and stepdad Gary. When I said, Im 100% Mori it seemed he was a little disappointed I wasnt anything else. That attained me laughter. Mums response was typical of her, Oh yeah. Well, your nan was full-blooded. So, yeah that sounds about right.

There are a couple of reasons why I took the test last year. I was working on a story about Mori identity for Native Affairs a current affairs series on Mori Television. I was given a test kit, and wanted to show spectators how easy the test was. While waiting for my results I guessed Id have some non-Mori blood and thats what I was genuinely curious about. I have one male English ancestor in both my mothers and father-gods genealogy.

I only hoped Id be at least 80% Mori. Some laughed and guessed I was being over confident.

When it was time to reveal research results I was a little nervous. As a follow-up story, I define myself up by organizing studio crew to record the reveal in front of an audience filled with my colleagues. The pressure was on. The results could have gone either way. So, you can only imagine my relief and amaze when I was told, Youre 98% Mori.( The remaining 2% was likely to be interference rather than an accurate ensue ).

The way Brad Argent from Ancestry explained how DNA runs was what fascinated me the most.

You get half of your Dna from your mum and half from your papa. Right? But its randomised, its largely a random sample. If they were both merely half Polynesian and half Mori they could have given you all their Mori half. It doesnt truly say anything about your parents and it doesnt say anything about your siblings. So, it cant rule out anything for anyone else. It can merely give you a view on the unique you that you are.

The interest in my story is startling. Cyclone Cook is threatening an already-ravaged eastern Bay of Plenty region my home town. Hundreds if not thousands are cut off, isolated and homeless. Aotearoa is on severe climate watch. Yet, theres so much attention on the Native Affairs presenter has become a full-blooded Mori. It was the most read article on and the NZ Herald website. I still have a few more media interviews to get through before my period objective. Its absolutely mind-boggling.

Being Mori is so much more than blood quantum. In New Zealand, many believed there are no full-blood Mori left. Its often been used by critics of Mori who seek equal rights and sovereignty. My results, at least, present there is one full-blooded Mori contrary to that notion. I believe there are more full-blooded Mori, they just havent done a Dna exam. As Mori, we rely on passing down our genealogy or whakapapa from one generation to the next. This is how we recognize ourselves.

My results havent changed me. Not one bit. While Im delightfully amazed with research results, I truly dont view myself as being more Mori than anyone else. The reality my sisters and my parents have a different genetic code does not induce them any less than me.

For me, being Mori is a way of life. I was born and bred in a Mori world where reo( speech) and tikanga( traditions) were embedded in us. I received Mori-language medium education. Im a proud Thoe, Ngti Awa, Twharetoa and Te Arawa woman.

Oriini Kaipara is the Native Affairs presenter for Mori Television

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