[This article was my inaugural column in the Manukau Courier published 16 December 2016 – link]
When I was invited to contribute to the Manukau Courier by Editor and friend Justin Latif last week, my response to was, “any particular focus? I ask because next Friday I head to the UK as a Dad to see his Daughter; as a Great Grandson to visit the spot in Belgium where my Great Grand Father was rescued in WW1; holidaying in Italy with my family; meeting with a couple of people in London about research for a new book project that will be launched next year around child slave labour… so what were you after?” Trusting me he said I could write on anything.
After cogitating for a number of days I decided to simply give a shout out to a broadcaster we all know. This morning I watched the final Paul Henry show. Some will say unkind things about him—and I used to be one of those, others will say great things about him—and I am now one of those, but most usually say under their breath that they actually agree with almost all that he has had the courage to say. Has it got him into hot water? Yes, but he has been saying what most of us are thinking and not really worrying—too much—about the consequences.
Earlier this week I got the privilege of being interviewed by him for the second time… he is brilliant. I’m an abolitionist who is fighting to see New Zealand become the first nation in the world to be truly slave free. Many journalists have interviewed me over the last few years about the issue, but I would put Paul Henry at the top of the highlight reel on this, and here’s why.
He is a compassionate advocate for those who are disenfranchised, and he genuinely cares about humanity. What you see on TV is really the finishing touches of a lot of work done behind the scenes, usually the night before. The producers talk to you about what Paul wants to focus on (and he is very well informed), and to do the “nutter test”. Once on set you must be confident and know your stuff otherwise he will eat you up for breakfast, as many of you know watching the show. To be on the show again in his last week on air, and during the week his mum died, was very significant and ‘privilege’ is the only word for it really. Enjoy the rest of your life Paul, ka kite ano e hoa!
You may not know who the heck I am but I wish every fellow South Aucklander a very Merry Christmas… I’m off to London tonight, which frankly is not paradise, but it’s where my darling daughter lives and I want to spend Christmas with her.
Arohanui, Meri Kirihimete… roll on 2017!
Peter J. Mihaere