Twelve Questions: Mike Hosking

Mike Hosking now heads two of the biggest media audiences in the country - his Newstalk ZB morning show and Seven Sharp on TV One. He is married to former broadcaster Kate Hawkesby and they have five children. He is not, he says, 'full of it'.

Mike Hosking.
Mike Hosking.

1.The last story I read about you said you were less defensive and more fun than you'd been in the past: What's your current mood?

My current mood is my constant and consistent mood ... one of great happiness, joy and a general embrace of life and all its wonders. People often find this too much, or some accuse me of being full of it but those who know me and have been around me can attest it is the real deal. I am driven by the simple premise that life is short and every day is to be treasured and ripped into at full pace.

2. Can you teach that kind of optimism, do you think?

I believe so. I think some of it is innate but there's no question that you can teach it. Do I teach it to my children? 100 per cent. Probably not overtly - "there's a lesson on positivity today" - but by your actions. Kids soak that stuff up. If you asked them about my attitude or personality they'd describe it. Every one of my birthday cards from the kids the other day had something in it about being happy, upbeat, full of laughter and fun.

3. Have you ever failed in your career?

It depends on what you mean by failure. I've been sacked I think twice. TVNZ didn't renew my contract one year on the Breakfast thing but I then took the next four to five years off to spend time with my kids. It didn't bother me in the slightest. And many years ago I was taken off the (Radio New Zealand) commercial network show New Zealand Tonight. It was moving to Auckland and they didn't want me there so I went to Christchurch which was great because it was my hometown. I think I felt momentarily bad about that one but it's all about your interpretation of the situation. If you feel rejected or you've failed then it is but if you don't you can look on the bright side of it.

4. Describe your childhood:

Short, given I was particularly keen to grow up. It was in Christchurch which I am eternally grateful for given I love the place and it's going to turn out to be one of the great small cities of the world. And I grew up in a time, not that long ago, where you went to your local school, played sport at the local park, wandered the neighbourhood, and weren't burdened by the crap so many of the young people of today seem to carry on their shoulders.

5. Why the hurry to grow up?

It was particularly school- driven. I didn't like school, didn't enjoy it outside of sport, hated sitting in classrooms, passing tests. The whole deal seemed to be get School C, get UE and get a job. It was just a means to an end and I couldn't wait to tick the boxes and get out. I had a few friends. I was big into sport and hung out with a few of those guys. You always lose contact with them. I left town and very few of the others did. There's a couple I've stayed in touch with over the years.

6. Who are your closest friends now?

You won't know them, and there aren't many. I go for quality not quantity. I am not an acquaintance type of guy. My best friends in some cases are ones I rarely see due to geography and yet we can pick up any time like it was yesterday. But by far and away my best friend and of course greatest love is my glorious wife.

7. What did you learn from your parents that you would never pass on?

I will never forget the day my mother said "that Robert Muldoon is not much of a Prime Minister but luckily he's good with the economy". I was about 10 or 11 and even then I was able to work out that I was in a house of exceedingly limited financial knowledge and I'd better pay attention to economics at school. And that's before she lectured me in later years on why I should be voting for Jim Anderton.

8. Is your cleaning compulsion all about control?

What cleaning compulsion? To be clean is to be organised and toreflect to the world that you like neatness and order, and neatness and order are much underrated. I've always found it weird that some people like to be clean personally, but somehow the rules change for their house or their car. Your surroundings are a reflection of who you are, and what you like. There is no greater joy than someone opening the door of your car, looking at the mat, and being able to actually see the mat and saying, "oh is this a new car?"

9. You've now got the two gigs Paul Holmes cherished most. What would he say about that, do you think?

You lucky bastard ... don't work too hard.

10. Your Seven Sharp audience will read this the morning after your first show: what do you want them to say about it?

That they saw the change and liked it but I'll wait and see. I'm trying not to talk it up or make promises that will come back and bite me on the bum.

11. What do you think of John Campbell?

I admire him for what he's done and what he's doing. It's not my thing (Campbell Live). It's like tennis versus golf. But anyone who makes a good sustained living in this industry ...

12. Write your own epitaph.

Well, this would be released after the state funeral and the three days of national mourning, but: "Mike Hosking. Took what he had, used it well, loved the journey and laughed most of the way."

- NZ Herald

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