He has a bone-crushing handshake and children to three different women but Paul Henry's heir apparent maintains there's not too much difference between the man you see on- and off-camera.

A 42-year-old Aucklander, Duncan Garner and a television veteran of 20 years, is widely rumoured to be in line to take over Henry's breakfast spot when the veteran broadcaster quits this year.

After studying communications at AUT he joined TVNZ as a political reporter in the mid-90s and worked on the country's most popular prime time current affairs show for two years under the late Paul Holmes before switching networks in 2003.

Four years later he became the station's political editor.


In 2007 Garner was judged Qantas TV Journalist of the Year.

Garner started his foray into anchor roles with TV3 political news show The Nation.

After a fallout with the show's executive producer he teamed up with best friend Guyon Espiner to co-host the now-defunct 3rd Degree.

At the same time he hosted RadioLive's afternoon drive show and last year teamed up with former TVNZ journalist Heather du Plessis-Allan to co-host prime time show Story.

Garner has four children to three mothers, including two daughters with RNZ journalist Mihingarangi Forbes. He is now married to Deanna and they have a son, Buster.

In a 2010 interview Garner told the Herald he was enormously ambitious and said there was little difference between him on and off the television.

Columnist Michele Hewitson described interviewing him was like "having a long session of rough play with a bull mastiff puppy, one that growls and wags its tail at the same time".

She advised against shaking his hand saying he had "one of those bone-crushing handshakes designed to let you know how tough he is".

Hewitson said despite his annoying traits you couldn't help but admire his enthusiasm.