A complete history of TVNZ Breakfast hosts

Susan Wood, Mike Hosking, Ali Mau and Kate Hawkesby have all sat on the Breakfast couch.
Susan Wood, Mike Hosking, Ali Mau and Kate Hawkesby have all sat on the Breakfast couch.

It's been a staple of the Kiwi viewing diet for nearly two decades, easing viewers into their morning with news, weather and general chatter.

Mike Hosking and Susan Wood were the first hosts to sit on the Breakfast couch, launching the programme on August 11, 1997. Since then, no less than 14 presenters have taken on the early morning challenge.

We look back at the many faces to host TVNZ's Breakfast.

1997 - 1999: MIKE AND SUSAN

Mike Hosking, Susan Wood and Liz Gunn made up the original Breakfast team.
Mike Hosking, Susan Wood and Liz Gunn made up the original Breakfast team.

These days, he's the reigning king of New Zealand broadcasting. But in 1997, Mike Hosking was a television novice. Breakfast marked his first full-time foray on the small screen and producers balanced his inexperience by pairing him with the accomplished presenter Susan Wood. Having moved to television from print in the 1980s, Wood was an experienced reporter and presenter, having earned her stripes as the network's first Australia correspondent.

After two years on the Breakfast couch, Wood was given her own interview series called Today Live, which screened for two years on TV One.

2000: MIKE AND ALI

Mike Hosking and Alison Mau in 2000.
Mike Hosking and Alison Mau in 2000.

Alison Mau was the next leading lady to take on Breakfast's early starts, moving from the newsdesk to the couch in 2000. The move saw her and then-husband Simon Dallow reunited on air, as Dallow took over Mau's morning news-reading shifts. The couple had previously read the news together but were split when Dallow became the host of One News' late bulletin Tonight.

2001: MIKE AND LIZ

Liz Gunn and Mike Hosking hosted Breakfast together in 2001 before Gunn quit live on-air.
Liz Gunn and Mike Hosking hosted Breakfast together in 2001 before Gunn quit live on-air.


Mau left Breakfast in 2001 to have her second baby, leaving newsreader Liz Gunn to take her place. Gunn sparked headlines in December that year when she quit the programme live on air. At the time, it was reported that Gunn and Hosking had not clicked as a presenting team but TVNZ bosses were left scrambling when Gunn told viewers she wouldn't be back in 2002.

2002 - 2003: MIKE AND KATE

Mike Hosking and Kate Hawkesby hosted Breakfast together from 2002 to 2003.
Mike Hosking and Kate Hawkesby hosted Breakfast together from 2002 to 2003.

And this kids, is where it all began. Now one of New Zealand's best known celebrity couples, Mi-Kate didn't officially begin dating until 2008. Six years after they first shared the Breakfast couch.

But despite making a formidable pair on-air, they were soon split when Bill Ralston took over as head of news and current affairs in 2003, making sweeping changes to the programme's format. Peter Williams and Mike Hall were both dropped from the programme, leaving Hawkesby to take on news and weather duties, while Hosking conducted live interviews. Hawkesby soon left the programme, moving to the late news bulletin alongside Eric Young.

2004: ALI MAU, AGAIN

Paul Henry began hosting Breakfast in 2004, after Ali Mau had spent seven months hosting the show solo.
Paul Henry began hosting Breakfast in 2004, after Ali Mau had spent seven months hosting the show solo.

After three years away to raise her young children, Ali Mau returned to the Breakfast couch, solo. At the time, it was reported that Hosking's contract was not renewed for 2004 and TVNZ wouldn't comment other than to confirm it no longer employed Hosking.

Mau struggled through seven months of solo hosting before Paul Henry joined her on the couch. Later that year, she ditched TVNZ altogether, joining Paul Holmes in his move to Prime.

2005 - 2007: PAUL AND KAY

Kay Gregory and Paul Henry hosted Breakfast between 2005 and 2007.
Kay Gregory and Paul Henry hosted Breakfast between 2005 and 2007.

Former weather presenter Kay Gregory was next up, encouraged to apply for the role by Simon Dallow. "He sent me a lengthy e-mail, explaining why he thought I should apply," she told the Herald in 2005.

Gregory described the role as her dream job but things soon soured, with reports that the Breakfast hosts experienced "a difficult on-screen relationship" and irritated one another. In 2006, television and image consultant Harry Mills described the pair as "the odd couple".

The pair continued on for another year before Gregory stepped down in July 2007.

2007 - 2010: PIPPA AND PAUL

Paul Henry and Pippa Wetzell became the dream team of morning television.
Paul Henry and Pippa Wetzell became the dream team of morning television.

The dream team. The golden couple. New Zealand's own Harry and Sally ... Well, maybe not. But to this day, Pippa and Paul are considered Breakfast's most successful presenting partnership. They loved each other and the public loved them. The ratings peaked.

But nothing lasts forever and in October 2010, Henry resigned from the network amidst a firestorm of controversy, after he mocked an Indian official's name and insulted the Governor-General.

Pippa, who was pregnant with her third child, struggled on to the end of the year, as TVNZ trialled a series of possible replacements live on-air.

2011 - 2012: PETRA AND CORIN

Despite the smiles, Petra Bagust and Corin Dann revealed they were subject to regular abuse as hosts of Breakfast.
Despite the smiles, Petra Bagust and Corin Dann revealed they were subject to regular abuse as hosts of Breakfast.

If Pippa and Paul were the golden couple, Petra and Corin were, well, not. The pair came in for a torrent of abuse as viewers struggled to adjust to the new line up. The ratings slid and by April 2012, TVNZ announced Dann was leaving Breakfast to become the network's political editor.

2012: PETRA AND RAWDON

Saturday Breakfast host Rawdon Christie was waiting in the wings to take over and quickly made himself at home on the Breakfast couch, where he has sat ever since. Ratings improved but reports suggested there was no love lost between the pair and by October, Bagust announced she was leaving.

2013: RAWDON AND TONI

Toni Street and Rawdon Christie hosted Breakfast in 2013 to great success.
Toni Street and Rawdon Christie hosted Breakfast in 2013 to great success.

After a year of filling-in for Petra and hosting Saturday Breakfast alongside Christie, Toni Street was finally given her first full-time presenting role. After two years of awkwardness, viewers were relieved to find hosts that actually liked one another. Together with weatherman Sam Wallace, the programme found its sweet spot once again, with its popularity reflected in growing ratings.

2014: RAWDON AND A DIFFERENT ALI

Rawdon Christie and Ali Pugh hosted Breakfast from 2014 to 2015.
Rawdon Christie and Ali Pugh hosted Breakfast from 2014 to 2015.

Ironically, the success of Christie and Street's partnership saw it come to an end, as Street was moved on to Seven Sharp, joining Mike Hosking in a revamped line up. After trialling new co-hosts on-air, TVNZ announced former Breakfast reporter Alison Pugh would join Christie on the couch, becoming his third co-host in just 18 months. That partnership ended when Pugh went on maternity leave in June 2015.

2015: RAWDON AND NADINE

Rawdon Christie and Nadine Chalmers-Ross are the current hosts of Breakfast.
Rawdon Christie and Nadine Chalmers-Ross are the current hosts of Breakfast.


Last year saw a first for TVNZ, with Nadine Chalmers-Ross becoming the first brunette ever to land the hosting gig. The former AMP Business presenter showed a softer side in the Breakfast role but viewers soon picked up on a lack of chemistry between the hosts. 2016 has seen ratings slide in the key commercial demographic of 25-54, with insiders reporting the show has become a key concern for TVNZ bosses.

- NZ Herald

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