12 Apr 2024

RNZ's brand new current affairs show: 30 with Guyon Espiner

7:05 am on 12 April 2024

RNZ's Guyon Espiner fronts a new, video-led interview show premiering online next week.

30 with Guyon Espiner is "what it says on the tin", Espiner said.

"It's a 30 minute uncut interview with someone of deep interest either locally or internationally. It's a 30 minute deep dive with them, unedited."

Ten video episodes will be published online and on TVNZ+ weekly, as a podcast, and broadcast on RNZ National on Sundays at 5:10pm. It has been made for on-demand TV viewers at the Whaakata Māori studios and is fully funded by RNZ.

Each episode focuses on just one guest and is unedited.

In episode one, to be released on Wednesday April 17, Espiner explores a range of topics in a thought-provoking and revealing discussion with community leader Dave Letele. Known for his BBM Motivation programme, Letele details darker aspects of his personal and family history, holds forth on the big social and political issues Aotearoa faces - and reveals a surprising update on his dealings with the coalition government.

Subscribe to the podcast feed now to get every episode of 30 on your phone when it lands:

On Spotify

On iHeartRadio

On Apple podcasts

Unedited, and nowhere to hide

The pledge not to edit any part of the programme was a deliberate response to declining trust in news media, Espiner said.

On Monday, the annual survey of New Zealanders' trust in news media was released showing another sharp drop. RNZ fell for the first time from first to second most-trusted news brand in the survey.

"We live in a time where there has been decreasing levels of trust in the media - it's probably something that we've brought on ourselves to some degree - but that's the way of the world," Espiner said.

"So this show is in part an attempt to address that. It's a 30-minute interview show with no cuts or edits. What we record is what you get. And so we've set ourselves that challenge partly to say to people: 'Hey we're not manipulating this, this is what we've recorded, this is what you're getting'."

The format presents some challenges.

"What it means is embracing your mistakes in some ways. There will be mistakes, there will be pauses and ums and ahs - there might be the odd f-bomb dropped.

"We're just saying this is a warts and all programme, that what you see is what you get."

Dave Letele in studio with Guyon Espiner.

Espiner interviews community leader Dave Letele in episode one of 30. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Interesting people with interesting ideas

Other confirmed guests for the show include AI expert Nina Schick, globalist Peter Zeihan, film director Roseanne Liang and political leaders from across the spectrum.

With a 35-year journalism career behind him, Espiner is well-known as a political and investigative journalist, and as a presenter.

The show would show people a little bit of "another side" to him.

"I guess what they'll see in this show is perhaps another side of me. Perhaps the side that enjoys the creative elements of life, and business or the realms that aren't just about politics."

Several long-form interview shows have proven popular with digital audiences around the world, but there are few recent similar shows that have aired in Aotearoa.

Thirty minutes provided "a good amount of space" to develop the story of an interviewee, Espiner said.

"These interviews, hopefully, aren't just a series of sort of random questions to interesting people, they try to tell that person's story, and I think you need a bit of time to do that.

"So 30 is long enough to dig deep into someone's life but not too long, to let you get on with the rest of your day."

The programme was conceived by RNZ's In Depth team and is led by executive producer Ali Ventura, who was previously in charge of The Project at TV3.

* Episode one of 30 with Guyon Espiner is released on YouTube and TVNZ+ at 3pm on Wednesday April 17