Where's Bernadine Oliver-Kerby? TVNZ tight-lipped on absent newsreader

She has been a fixture on our television screens for more than a decade. But One News viewers will have noticed a change to their weekend bulletins - the absence of newsreader Bernadine Oliver-Kerby.

Following the summer break, One News returned to full programming last month, with the return of regular newsreaders Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie on weekdays. Likewise, Peter Williams returned to his role as weekend newsreader.

However, Bernadine Oliver-Kerby did not join Williams behind the newsdesk. Williams has read the news solo for the past two weekends.

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A TVNZ spokesperson told the Herald Oliver-Kirby is on leave. They did not respond when asked if she would return.

However, Oliver-Kerby has been back at her other job - reading the weekday news on Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking Breakfast - since January 15.

Oliver-Kerby declined to comment on her absence, directing all queries to TVNZ's Head of News and Current Affairs, John Gillespie.

Peter Williams has been reading the weekend news bulletins on his own for the past two weeks.
Peter Williams has been reading the weekend news bulletins on his own for the past two weeks.

Last year, the Herald reported TVNZ was considering a move to a single newsreader for its weekend bulletins.

However, the broadcaster has not confirmed if this move is going ahead.

If Oliver-Kirby's leave of absence becomes permanent, she will be the the third high profile female presenter to leave the broadcaster in three months.

Weather presenter Karen Olsen left the network in October after more than two decades with the broadcaster. Likewise, Good Morning host Jeanette Thomas was made redundant when the morning show was cancelled. Its final episode screened in December.

Media commentator Janet Wilson says the move signals a pattern of behaviour by TVNZ and comes as no surprise.

"There is a casual sexism at play ... Women of a certain age are deemed no longer valuable."

She says there is a pattern of "culling" every nine to 10 years, which sees older female presenters removed from on air.

In 2005, both Judy Bailey and Susan Wood left their roles as prime time presenters for TVNZ.

- NZ Herald

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