24 Dec 2015

Veteran sports reporter Garry Ahern's back in the clubhouse

From Morning Report, 8:37 am on 24 December 2015

This is Garry Ahern's last day with Radio New Zealand.

The long-serving sports broadcaster Garry Ahern has read his last sports bulletin for RNZ and is looking forward to not having get up in the wee small hours any more.

Ahern has spent the bulk of the past 46 years working for Radio New Zealand, having first joined the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation in 1969 as an accounts clerk in Whanganui.

Speaking on Morning Report, he explained how his mother was reponsible for getting him into broadcasting after he had spent a couple of years at Victoria University in Wellington.

Garry Ahern reads finishes his last sports bulletin on Morning Report

Garry Ahern signs off for the last time on Morning Report. Photo: RNZ/Stephen Hewson

"I didn't do any studying when I was at university, so I went back home to Whanganui not knowing what in the world I was going to do. I'd played golf since I was about 10 and was really enjoying some more free time after two great years at university, fruitless years though," Ahern said.

"I came home from golf one day and my mother said she'd heard an advertisement on the local radio station for an accountants clerk and that certainly wasn't me, but I thought broadcasting could be quite interesting and that's how it all started."

A few years later he landed a sports journalist role in Wellington and has covered 14 Commonwealth and Olympic Games since.

But his undoubted highlight was covering the New Zealand golf team's win at the Eisenhower Trophy in 1992.

The team included Michael Campbell, who went on to win the US Open.

In 2013 Ahern's contribution to sports journalism was recognised when he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Sports Journalists Association.

The award citation described him "as the consummate broadcasting journalist who asks the right questions, gets the information and presents it knowledgably and in an entertaining fashion."

Ahern said he's relieved he won't have to set the alarm clock for 3.30am anymore, but he said he's enjoyed "a wonderful, wonderful career."

Golf and horse racing are Ahern's two sporting passions, and he now intends spending more time on both.

He also intends trying to lower his handicap with regular rounds at the Miramar Golf Club.