Can you tell us what is your favourite thing about being the 3 News Europe Correspondent?
The variety and the experiences. Because I’m the only staff member for TV3 in the Northern Hemisphere, I cover everything. This means one day I can be covering politics in Britain, the next I could be covering sport like the Rowing World Championship in Poland and the next I could be interviewing a film star as part of a junket for a new film.
In the past year I’ve been to France (4 times), Poland, Germany, Denmark and Ireland for stories. It can be exhausting and the time difference often leads to 20 hour days when we are on the road but it is exciting.
Over the years you have worked on some interesting stories, could you tell us what sticks out in your mind as the most memorable and why?
In the past year probably the story that sticks out the most for me is my trip to Berlin to cover the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. I met a New Zealand photographer, Mike Minehan, who was living in Berlin when the wall came down. At his apartment he’d laid out all the photos he took that day and I was just amazed by how good they were – he’d captured everything from the expression of joy on German people’s faces to the fear and uncertainty felt by the soldiers.
The next day at 5am it was pouring with rain when I made my way to Brandenburg Gate to do a live cross. The gate was lit up and there was nobody around, it was almost spooky. I felt incredibly lucky to be back at the scene of such an historic event, 20 years on. An event I watched on television as a 10-year-old!
In terms of my career to date, the stories that stick with you are often because they are the most harrowing to cover.
After the Magatepopo gorge drownings I covered all seven of the funerals. I could have asked other reporters to help or opted out but I wanting to cover them all – I felt it was important for the families that they didn’t see a different face all the time, but felt like they could trust me to cover their grief in a considerate way. My lasting memory of that week is the incredible kindness of the school, the pupils and the parents – as a journalist it’s hard not to feel like you are intruding but we were made to feel welcome.
You will be going to Gallipoli for Anzac Day, could you tell us a little bit about this story and the trip?
This year is the 95th anniversary of the Allied landing in World War 1. Something like 20,000 visitors are expected to travel to the Gallipoli Peninsula. It’s become a bit of a Mecca for young New Zealanders and Australians, and the Gallipoli campaign now symbolises all the conflict and loss experienced by both nations.
The Prime Minister John Key is attending this year as is a selected group of veterans and there are a number of young people that have competitions to attend. I’ll be doing a story focussing on how the Anzac spirit is being kept alive by the involvement of these young people. As well as covering the dawn service and the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair, I’m planning on doing a feature on the town of Eceabat. This town of just under 10,000 people is the closest settlement to the Gallipoli peninsula. I’m planning on interviewing a Gallipoli guide who lives in the town – he speaks English with an Australian accent despite never having left Turkey – which I think illustrates perfectly how important this area is for Australasians.
And finally, could you tell us of any other exciting stories you have coming up in the next couple of months?
The biggest story here in the UK at the moment is of course the general election on May 6. It’s expected to be the most closely fought election for decades and interestingly, this election will see the first ever televised debate between the leaders in British history.
I’m also looking forward to being in England for the Football World Cup – I’ve been told the entire country goes mad and I’m excited that for once I’ll be able to cheer for New Zealand!