If Judy Bailey is the mother of the nation, what does that make Hilary Barry? Just turned 37, the 3 News six o'clock anchor is still a bit young to be the nation's aunty. Sister?
"Aaagh," she grimaces. "I sort of feel that working for TV3, we'd rather be thought of as their friend, their next door neighbour, their colleague."
Mate of the nation perhaps? She laughs. A pronounced guffaw that seems to be more the real Barry than the stiff zipped-up 6pm power suits we see her in each week night.
"That's more like it. I don't think mother of the nation is necessarily a flattering one, because it sounds like you're condescending. And I don't think 3 has ever tried to be that."
There's a definite mateyness about Barry. She was recently voted most popular television personality at the Qantas Media Awards.
But for all she has endeared herself to her viewers on screen, in person she has learned to keep her distance.
Her two young boys have never been trucked out for a women's magazine photo shoot; she politely declines most opportunities to speak in public and rarely meets strangers' eyes when out in public. This from a reporter who has done her time chasing criminals and politicians down the street.
Barry knows how the fortunes of the famous can turn.
Her friend Clint Brown was "massacred" by media after his infamous punch-up in Taupo which left him with a broken eye socket and a career in tatters. The furore still bothers her. She believes newspapers went overboard on the story that cost Brown his job.
"If there was a story to be told, tell the story. But I think it went beyond that. There have been other cases involving politicians where gossip ends up front page news and I think it's just not right."
But today Barry is happily fronting to the media. She gave away her personal vanity to her TV bosses years ago. She hasn't been to a private hairdresser for years, and is taken on shopping trips a few times a year by the channel's main stylist.
"When I first started I had really short hair and they thought, at management level, that my hair was too short. So, it was grown.
"It was grown; see how I completely disassociated myself from that mop on my head?" And do they decide to make it lighter too? "Yes, it tends to get like that miraculously towards summer. I don't care either way, I'm quite happy for someone else to make those sorts of decisions."
There goes that guffaw again. Barry would be a fun mum to her two boys Finn and Ned.
After struggling to look old enough when she started in TV, she's reached the age where TV traditionally starts ignoring women.
Does she think women have an unfairly limited lifespan on TV?
"No, I think that's more for actresses and TV performers. But I don't feel pressured to feel young. I'm not particularly worried about getting old. I intend to do it disgracefully. I'm certainly not lining up at the botox clinic or anything like that."
Barry studied linguistics and after a brief flirtation with architecture diverted her post graduate study to the career she had always dreamed of pursuing - journalism.
TV3 hired her. After about a year she was asked to fill in and read the news one night.
"It was one of those cases of 'Oh my goodness, there's no one to read the news'. They said: 'well, you're the reporter on. You can do it'... I wasn't appalling but I wasn't great. From that time on I was sort of the standby person." A year and a half ago she was appointed fulltime as a newsreader at 6pm with co-anchor Mike McRoberts.
These days she and husband Mike live just metres from the beach in the Auckland seaside suburb of Milford. Her great-grandparents used to camp on the section when Milford was an out of the way sleepy beach town.
Mike is a teacher.
It's a normal life, she says, apart from having to protect herself and her family from the glare of publicity.
She hasn't signed a petition since she became a journalist and rarely speaks about controversial subjects in public in a bid to be an unbiased journalist.
There is, however, a line that Barry believes should be drawn between the private lives of public people and what makes it to air and print.
"I think if there is a major issue that is in the public interest and affects the way a person does their job, and they're paid by the public to do that job, then maybe you could argue a reason for investigating it. Where it's just salacious gossip; where it's deliberately intended to hurt somebody's reputation or their credibility, you know, it makes my skin crawl."
Journalists should constantly question whether the news is in the public interest, she says. Does she find that challenging? "I can't think of any occasions when I've sat there and read an intro to a story and felt uncomfortable."
Has TV news become too focused on the presenters and less on the content? Barry looks genuinely baffled.
"I think the general public is focused on the news - I don't think people watch 3 News solely to watch Mike McRoberts and I read it."
There would be implications for the ratings though if she and McRoberts left. "Do you think? I dunno."
Nevertheless the job is more demanding than many would imagine, she reckons. She's on-call all day in case of big breaking news, and spends the afternoon at the channel sitting in on news conferences and preparing.
Nothing much fazes her. Her father died of a heart attack in 1999 and her mother is a breast cancer survivor. She has decided against being tested for the cancer gene.
"I have to say I'm a bit of a fatalist. I'll always keep an eye out for lumps, but I know I've got a higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease but I'm not going to spend my life worrying about it. I think I learned that through what dad went through too.
"So I think my attitude to becoming ill is to enjoy each day as it comes."