My first job was...

working in the London Bookshop next to the old Kirkcaldie and Stains department store in Wellington. It was during my fifth or sixth form Christmas holidays (It's a while ago … my memory is hazy!). I was, and continue to be if ever I get a minute, an avid bookworm, so I was as happy as a pig in mud.

It taught me… how to deal with people… some are pricklier than others, but I learned the customer is ALWAYS right.

My big break came… when I was accepted into what was then the NZBC newsroom in Christchurch at the end of my Polytech journalism course. It set me on a path in journalism and broadcasting that I have never once regretted.


The last job I quit was… as a salesperson at Bentalls in Kingston, near London. Chris and I were on our OE in the 70s. I was selling twinsets to ladies of a certain age. Although I was asked to join the store's pension scheme, I was bored witless and quit after three days.

The most famous person I've ever met is… the Dalai Lama stands out. I'm a patron of Hospice North Shore and he came to visit the hospice when he was last in New Zealand. He spoke to us about finding happiness and enjoying the moment.

He was... delightful. I remember thinking he was high on life, just the most positive, joyful person you could hope to meet. He has an infectious giggle that bubbles out of him often.

The best time I've had on set was… on the set of numerous early telethons back in the day! Just the sheer unbridled joy of being part of something that involved the entire country, having fun and letting loose on the telly while raising truckloads of cash for the best of causes.

But the worst was… covering the shootings in Aramoana. It was the first time we had seen an event like that unfold live on television that wasn't taking place in a foreign country - it was happening right here in a peaceful little beachside community in the South Island. It was also TVNZ's first live broadcast of a breaking story and because of the remoteness of the spot, fraught with technical difficulties. It was a nightmare on so many fronts.

My dream role would be… hard to say. I feel like I've been blessed with so many dream roles already, right now I'm relishing being Juju to my seven glorious grandchildren.

Judy Bailey is the Doc Edge Champion for the 2019 Documentary Edge International Film Festival, in Auckland May 30 – June 9, and Wellington, June 13-23.