A DNA test appears to have found a woman with 100 per cent Maori DNA.
An analysis of the DNA of Oriini Kaipara, 33, has shown that - despite her having both Maori and Pakeha ancestry - her genes only contain Maori DNA. That makes her, in her own words, a "full-blooded Maori".
Culturally, people identify as Maori through their whakapapa, while legally a person is defined as Maori if they are of Maori descent, even through one long-distant ancestor.
However, the intermingling of different ethnicities in New Zealand over the past 200 years means all Maori people are thought to have some non-Maori ancestry, so would not be expected to have 100 per cent Maori DNA.
But Kaipara, 33, is different. The Native Affairs newsreader has some Pakeha ancestry, but it seems through a series of genetic flukes her parents passed on only the DNA from her Maori ancestors.
Ancestry.com spokesman Brad Argent explained the science behind the test on Native Affairs on Tuesday evening.
He told Kaipara her DNA showed up as 98 per cent Polynesian, which would all be Maori. The remaining two per cent appeared to be from Scandinavia and the Caucasus regions around Turkey.
Given she did not have known ancestors from those areas, the two per cent was likely to be "noise" rather than an accurate result - meaning she essentially has 100 per cent Maori DNA.
Argent told Kaipara, "What's happened over time is that the genetic material that has been passed down to you, that stuff has just diluted away. In your case, it's led to you being 100 per cent Maori."
Kaipara (Tuhoe, Ngati Awa and Ngati Tuwharetoa) sent her DNA away to be analysed last year as part of a segment on identity for Native Affairs.
She told the Herald she was shocked by the result.
"I thought I'd better put my money where my mouth is and take the test and see what happens," she said. "I thought as long as I don't get a result that's less than 80 percent I'll be happy".
Argent cautioned that DNA was "just one tiny part of who we are as people". He pointed out her siblings would probably have a different result.
"So, when you're getting a genetic result it's important to remember that. It doesn't define who you are".
While Argent said the result was unique, he encouraged more Maori to take the test as he believed other people with 100 per cent Maori DNA could be found.