Twelve questions

Sarah Stuart poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions: Hilary Barry

TV3 and Radio Live newsreader Hilary Barry was head girl at Queen Margaret College in Wellington before beginning a career in radio. She's been presenting the news since 1999, has two sons and is married to Mike, a schoolteacher.

Hilary Barry says she is part of the furniture at TV3.  Photo / Sarah Ivey
Hilary Barry says she is part of the furniture at TV3. Photo / Sarah Ivey

1. It's 9.30am, you've been at work since 5, and won't get home until 7.30pm: are you just dodging North Shore traffic?

Actually yes, but I'd still battle the traffic at peak times to live on the Shore. You city-slickers don't know what you're missing.

2. Do you worry about seeing enough of the kids?

No, never. And I hope you're not asking that question just because I'm a working mother. Would you ask me that question if I was a man?

Well, yes actually. I was thinking of the regrets Sir Paul Holmes voiced before he died.

Our schedules are a bit different in that I'm reading the news, not up at 3am preparing 15 interviews with leading newsmakers. I do think a lot of questions I get asked to do with home life and juggling family with work are not asked of my male colleagues. And some of the harshest critics can be other women. A positive thing about being a working woman is that my children are seeing what it takes to earn a living - sometimes you have to get up bloody early in the morning to earn a crust.

3. You've been with TV3 for 20 years - what would it take to get you to switch to TVNZ?

I'm too much part of the furniture at TV3 to switch, I think I'd rather retire and learn how to surf.

4. You posted a nicely pointed retweet of Greg Boyed's rant against chunky women in airports: ever get the tone wrong in your own social media outings?

Twitter's no place to get angry. Seeing a bitchy outburst from a person with a public profile on Twitter is like spotting a toddler having a tantrum in a busy shopping mall - it's cringingly amusing. Still, I'm not perfect and I may well tweet something I regret later. I'll keep you posted via @Hilary_Barry.

5. What has been the most terrifying moment of your TV career?

Being chased by gang members down a Christchurch street after they caught us filming outside their headquarters. The boss [TV3 head of news Mark Jennings] was in the driver's seat and wasn't very quick on a stick shift.

6. You were Hilary Pankhurst: did you have any qualms about taking your husband's name?

I didn't but the aforementioned boss did. He told me TV3 had invested a lot in "Hilary Pankhurst".

I said it would all work out fine and it did.

7. Is it tough for partners who are the lesser known, lesser earning of a couple?

No, not at all and he's certainly not bothered by how much he earns, which is just as well because he's paid by Novopay.

8. Your house in Milford is on land bought by your great- grandparents: were they preparing for the Auckland housing bubble?

It's incredible to think my great-grandmother bought this land with money she made from selling eggs around the village. Imagine how many eggs you'd have to sell now!

9. What are life's three greatest pleasures?

A 24C day in May (thanks Auckland), a North Harbour Rugby win and fruit crumble.

10. There's a debate in Australia about female TV journalists becoming younger, blonder, prettier: do you believe the line that they're also more vacuous?

The Australian guy who wrote that initial article [Geoffrey Barker] was completely out of line. And if he's tuned in to a TV broadcast over there and found a blonde bimbo who fell over her words, well, that's his issue. As a rule TV journalists are not vacuous airheads - they wouldn't survive. And there are far more demands on young reporters now than when I was first on TV. We used to do a live cross once in a blue moon, now they go live really quickly. It's not easy.

11. You seemed quite excited about the new Pope this year - what do you teach your children about God?

I found the history and ceremony around the papal conclave fascinating.

When it comes to our children and God, well, we teach them to live by those good old-fashioned Christian principles of being kind to one another, treating everyone with respect and looking after those who need it.

12. Your on-air snort over a lamb that had a cow mothering it was viewed 24,000 times: do you pay much attention to the ratings?

Snorting on the television isn't a great look and I cringe to think that many people have watched it online. Ratings are important and I'd be a liar if I said I didn't keep an eye on them. If we don't rate, we'll all be out of a job.

- NZ Herald

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