The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: K'Lee fights demons in the ring


Miriama Smith will fight against singer and Mai FM host K'Lee McNabb on the undercard in the Hydr8 ZERO bout between Joseph Parker and Afa Tatupu on October 10, but the new mum, who's taken a break from acting to care for 7-month-old son Rau Aroha, tells us it's a tough mental challenge to prepare for.

"It's intrinsically not part of our makeup to hit each other, so the boxing for me is getting my head around that."

For K'Lee, it's a release mechanism from the abuse she's suffered.

"I was a victim of a drive-by shooting with an AK-47, and a kidnapping ordeal with a revolver pointed in the back of my head. That was in Los Angeles. I'm in a good relationship now, but I still have the stress of two kids, a fulltime job and paying bills.

"Getting in the ring will be a stress release," she told The Diary.

While living in Los Angeles, K'Lee found herself in the middle of a gang turf war. The house she shared with then partner and father of her two children DJ Enrique Vasquez and a visiting musician connected to the Crips gang was sprayed with bullets by the rival Bloods.

K'Lee was sleeping on a mattress on the floor at the time of the terrifying experience.

Months later, she was kidnapped while hiking near Highland Park with a girlfriend. "I remember feeling a nasty 44 Magnum revolver pointed in the back of my head. Our attacker held us for six hours in this house. I told him I had Aids because I was afraid of what he might do. He didn't hurt us, but we found out later that the week before he had raped a girl."

She testified against her assailant in court and he went to prison. "My dad is an ex-cop and he lives in Oz. He taught me about survival skills."

K'Lee says she's been through so much, the boxing match is just another challenge to take on.

Conner backs Barker for Cup win

He's a four-time America's Cup winner who's had his share of run-ins with New Zealanders, on and off the water, but American Dennis Conner, who turns 71 next week, tells The Diary he'll put his greenbacks on the Kiwis to win.

"Obviously New Zealand has done a great job thus far and if there are no changes they should win," Conner told The Diary yesterday. "I'll see you in Auckland."

But he added, diplomatically: "Oracle still has a chance. It's too soon to say for sure. I'm quite sure the majority of the America's Cup fans are rooting for Team New Zealand to win."

His confidence in the visiting team is not that startling. Three years ago, he made his allegiances plain, telling me: "I feel my second country is right here and I'm rooting for you guys. The America's Cup is really New Zealand's cup. They are the dominant presence in sailing."

But Conner, who's visiting Auckland in January, is reluctant to share his opinions on the regatta and how it has been handled, saying he'd prefer to keep his thoughts to himself.
Not so for Oracle skipper James "Scaredy Cat" Spithill who, in a video on the America's Cup Twitter page yesterday took a swipe at Dean Barker's childhood. Has it come to this? Spithill said: "He comes from a more privileged background. I come from a background where I had to fight to earn every single thing to get where I am today."

Today? That'll be coming last, Jimbo.

Six hours after calling the postponement card, the Oracle captain (at the time of going to print) played the at-least-someone-loves-me card. Oh dear, someone's not feeling the affection at Oracle HQ. The dejected captain took to Twitter to milk a little public sympathy. "My best mate has my back #mates #lookingafterdad," posting an endearing pic of his supportive son.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill with his (small) dedicated team of supporters.
Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill with his (small) dedicated team of supporters.

Alas, no such public encouragement from team bosses. Spithill's feather duster days look to be imminent.

TVNZ's job hunt trick

Greg Boyed is repatriated and Ali Mau is on leave next week, which means TVNZ's job application process continues with two guests alongside mainstay Jesse Mulligan.

So, who's in the running for Seven Sharp Idol? Sources at the network tell The Diary Clark Gayford, Te Radar, Matt Gibb and Stacey Morrison are contenders for Boyed's spot and will appear on the show. Heather du Plessis-Allen will be reassigned for a stint as anchor, too. And Tamati Coffey is being brought back for a guest spot in the swivel chair.

But a rep for TVNZ said: "It's important to know that for some it will be a job application, but for others it won't be."

She means weatherman-turned-game show host Coffey, who desperately needs to build his profile before TVNZ's (legitimate) talent quest, NZ's Got Talent, returns to air. "It's been a long time since he's been on the telly and it's a fickle business. No one gives a s*** about you when you go. He needs to be seen and heard before Talent begins," an insider said.

But is the network's daily current affairs show the right platform to cross-promote a singing and dancing contest?

Should a marketing scheme come at the expense of Seven Sharp's news integrity?

Robertson on white lie

He blames the magic of TV for the fib and says it was all "a giant misunderstanding". Last week, Grant Robertson was caught on camera saying his partner Alf wasn't at the pub during at an interview with Seven Sharp, when Alf was at the pub.

It seemed someone was telling a porky. But as Robertson tells it, it was just a misunderstanding.

"In the early part of the evening Alf wasn't there. He came to pick me up and things were still going. Ya know, the beauty of television," he told RadioLive's Duncan Garner's this week, who sounded as convinced as a horde of sceptics listening to a TV psychic.

Breakfast at Jerry's

They meet every three months for a briefing, but the get-together on Wednesday between Prime Minister John Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae was more laid back than normal, with the Queen's rep playing chef.

"We agreed to meet at his place in Auckland, but I said I'll only come to yours if you cook me brekky. But I was only joking. Anyway, I turned up at Government House and there he was, in this massive kitchen, in his butcher's pinny - cooking! I had to take a photo," said a gobsmacked Key.

"He even asked how I wanted my eggs!"

Fried, as it happens.

They were cooked in coconut oil and came with a side of bacon and cherry tomatoes.

There were no complaints to the chef.

"He cooks like Al Brown and with a better temperament than Gordon Ramsay," Key gushed.

- NZ Herald

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