New Zealand broadcasting great Kim Hill is signing off from her flagship Saturday Morning show on RNZ National.
Hill joined RNZ in 1985 and has presented a number of key programmes, most recently Saturday Morning with Kim Hill since 2002, and as a popular fill-in presenter on Morning Report.
RNZ chief executive and editor-in-chief Paul Thompson said Hill was incomparable as a broadcaster.
"Our audiences trust and love her deeply. Her work over many years at RNZ has provided listeners with immense pleasure and enlightenment. She is a national taonga and we are all going to miss her Saturday Morning show incredibly. I am so pleased she will be doing some work for us next year after she has had a break.
"She has maintained the highest standards in robust, engaging, fact-based public service broadcasting. Her combination of professionalism, high intellect, curiosity, wry humour and thorough preparation is unique.
"We have been incredibly fortunate to have Kim on RNZ National for so long and thank her for her service to public media in Aotearoa.
"Kim will continue to do some work for RNZ in 2024 and is working with us on some ideas for a series of in-depth interviews. We are delighted and will have more to say about that in the new year."
Hill said that stepping down from Saturday Morning was a hard call as she has loved presenting the show.
"It is time for a change for me. I look forward to having a break."
"Grand babies, they're quite tempting to spend more time with... I'd like to play the cello, don't know what my chance of that are. You can't do Wordle more than once a day, so I'll have to find something to do, won't I?," she said.
"It's going to be a huge change. I really, really love my job. It's better to leave a job loving it than to feel like you have to go because you don't like it any more."
Hill has interviewed many famous world figures, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Dolly Parton, and sparred with others.
British journalist and author Tony Parsons hung up part-way through an interview after telling her "you've got your head up your arse," while British author and politician Jeffrey Archer told Hill she was rude and he had "every right to tell her so".
She has received many domestic and international awards over her remarkable career, including being named the Association for International Broadcasting's International Radio Personality of the Year in 2012.
Hill's final Saturday Morning show will be on Saturday 25 November. The search for a new Saturday Morning host will commence soon.
As the news went public, fans of Hill reached out to share their fond memories and best wishes.
Here are some of the messages RNZ received:
"Flipperty jibbert I have tears. I am 80 and RNZ is my new husband since mine died last year."
"I was born in 1985 and have grown up listening to Kim Hill on RNZ, as a 3rd generation fan, with my grandad and mum (both now passed) tuning in regularly as I have done as an adult. Thanks for your huge contributions to journalism and radio. Can't wait to read your book ;)"
"I can't cope without having Kim alongside me!! My children are all in the 30s but Kim got me through their early years. Genuinely intelligent radio. And her sense of humour is wonderful. (Dinah & Robert, Kelburn)"
"Shocked and sad to hear Kim Hill will be finishing her amazing career. I have learnt so much from her morning interviews. Such a legend in her style, not suffering fools and real investigative journalism. No one like her. There is a time and a season indeed. Deep gratitude for Kim. Nga mihi Claire from Otautahi."
"Nooooo, not Kim going. Burst in to tears right now. Such a huge part of our family through all the nine to noon years and every Saturday morning. So grateful to Kim, Cheers, Charley."
"My Saturday mornings will never be the same again. You are right. I tune in for the interviewer and then I learn about subjects I would never in my life have bothered to listen to. What a mind... so incisive. No interviewer like her."
"Oh dear! Sad news that Kim Hill is finishing up. She was an absolute lifesaver when she hosted nine to noon and I was at home with young kids. Brought sanity and humour to the day. Thanks Kim - you will be greatly missed Virginia."
"Norman Kirk's death, Princess Diannas death, September 11th and now Kim Hill. I'll always remember where I was the day I first heard the news. Cheers Ant (in this case I was on the dessert road heading home to kapiti , a sad day for the RNZ family )."
"I'm grief stricken at the prospect of Saturday Morning without Kim. How will I survive? I console myself with the knowledge that I felt like this when Sharon Crosbie left, and I was bereft. And then along came Kim. Who can possibly replace her? Is there someone ,as yet undiscovered waiting in the wings. Oh, I do hope so. I'm 84 and RNZ is my daily companion now, just as it was with Sharon when I was a young mother. All I can say right now is THANK YOU for the enrichment you have brought to my life over so many years. Anne Malcolm."