When and where did your TV career start?
At TVNZ in November 2002 as presenter of Te Karere.
How has the way New Zealanders embrace te reo Maori changed during your time at TVNZ?
Luckily, many strong champions of te reo Māori worked hard to ensure the ongoing survival of the language, and what we’ve seen in recent years really is a tribute to the foundation those people created. As the value of te reo Māori has become more recognised, so has the usage and interest in this very special way of expressing our place in the world.
Why do you think the resurgence of the Maori is happening now?
The last ve years have felt like a new chapter of wider engagement with te reo Māori, media has played a part in that, as have public figures, and very importantly, our schools. Many parents have realised their children can pronounce Māori better than they can themselves, and tamariki should be recognised as little champions who are normalising beautiful pronunciation, often that they learnt at school.
You previously weren’t for making te reo Maori compulsory in schools, what changed your mind?
When I first said that, the environment was different. It has taken years to get to this place where now I believe the work has been done to build an understanding of the value of the language, so the aspect of compulsion won’t be a red herring to the positive outcome which this could achieve. We are also closer to the will, the resources and teachers needed to achieve this goal, although there is still much work to be done, the timing is now right to put that stake in the ground. A ministerial trip with Te Ururoa Flavell to Ireland and Wales (in 2016) to observe language revitalisation initiatives and their compulsory language curriculum in schools showed me the value of this approach.
What is your goal for te reo in Aotearoa?
For us to embrace the indigenous language of this country and to take part in its revitalisation by learning it, using it, and respecting it.
How do you balance your role on Te Karere with your work with championing te reo?
These roles go hand-in-hand, and feed each other. Championing te reo Māori is a passion of mine and so never a ‘role’ or a chore, but a privilege.
What has been your favourite role in your career and why?
The different roles I’ve had and have now have all been rewarding, it would be hard to pick a favourite! I just know I’m very lucky to do what I do.
What do you think makes a good news anchor?
Calmness, connection, charisma (and pronouncing Māori correctly) that’s what I admire in others.