Māori broadcaster Joanna Paul-Robie asked to present two shows in video closet

8:12 pm on 6 July 2024

Māori broadcaster Joanna Paul-Robie recalls being taken into a video closet and told to present two shows with no extra pay to replace veteran newsreader Philip Sherry.

"This is the way they treated me as a woman, as a wahine Māori and I don't believe they treated any of the men like this inside TV3. I was pulled into a video cupboard... by the two white middle class males who were running news and current affairs and they basically said to me we want you to do the six o'clock news, the main news," said Paul-Robie who joined the network in 1989.

She said she was not allowed to talk to a lawyer or anyone about her choice and only had an hour to decide whether to take up the dual role reading breakfast news and the 6pm news.

Māori broadcaster Joanna Paul-Robie.

Māori broadcaster Joanna Paul-Robie. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro / Marika Khabazi

Newshub's final 6pm bulletin went to air last night, ending almost 35 years of journalism history with the station.

Paul-Robie, who worked at the network for over three years, remembers watching her first broadcast back and thought she looked washed out and sick until she realised the lighting was not tailored for a non-Pākehā presenter.

"I said there's something wrong, I mean I look dreadful, I look like I've been drowned and come out of the Titanic. What's wrong and I went over and over and finally figured it out, it was the lighting.

"The lighting was for white people. That all the lightings had always been set up for white people on air, they'd never been set up for brown people," Paul-Robie said.

Paul-Robie went on to present Nightline alongside Belinda Todd. She left the network in 1992 and went on to help establish Māori Television between 2002-2004 as a general manager of programmes and production.

Last week she revealed on RNZ's Matariki programme she was terminally ill.

"I have cancer in its fourth stage. How long I have left is anybody's guess, it's a very rare form of breast cancer. It's a rare and aggressive form and that is very saddening for my whānau mostly and my friends," Paul-Robie said.

"I hope that I've done something for Māori, I hope that I've advanced our causes, I hope that I have protected and promoted who we are as a people and the best of us.

"I hope that my legacy for women counts that putting us on-screen, saying you can do it, not only can you do just one show, you can do two shows a night if you want to... You can do anything you want to do in this industry that's what I hope my legacy says to people," Paul-Robie said.

The new Three news broadcast by Stuff that will replace it tonight has only taken a handful of former staff from Newshub.

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