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TVNZ is to announce the resignation of presenter Kate Hawkesby this afternoon.

TVNZ spokesman Peter Parussini told the Herald that Hawkesby had been on maternity leave since the birth of her third child earlier this year.

"She's resigned," he said. "She's not coming back from maternity leave. She's decided to spend some time with her new baby and her family."

Hawkesby was the anchor for the late night news show Tonight before taking leave.

Various people had been filling in the role since she took leave but it was "far too early" to talk about replacements, Parussini said.

Kate Hawkesby's life on screen

Kate Hawkesby began her television career with a two-week internship at TVNZ.

She has worked as a fill-in presenter for the 6pm news and fronted news shows Breakfast and Midday - becoming the co-anchor of the Breakfast show with Mike Hosking in 2002. The pair was separated after Bill Ralston took over as head of news at TVNZ.

In 2004, Hawkesby became the host of the late night news show, Tonight, a programme she continued fronting until she took maternity leave earlier this year.

She was a contender for the 6pm news slot at the end of 2005 when Judy Bailey left but the jobs went to Wendy Petrie and Simon Dallow.

However, it was reported that she was spoken of highly by Bill Ralston. Ian Fraser also said at the time that Hawkesby was a favourite of his.

Even though she didn't get the position of 6pm newsreader, Hawkesby has been a regular fill-in.

She hosted an impromptu three-hour live breaking news special as Chechen rebels seized a school in Beslan, Russia, holding hundreds of children hostage.

Hawkesby also hosted the launch of Fashion Week in 2004.

In 2004 she was offered a job by Prime, though TVNZ was confident she would not leave.

Last year it was reported that Hawkesby was thrilled to be having a baby girl: "I thought I'd only ever have boys. It was a bit like winning Lotto," she told the Woman's Weekly.

She has been a finalist in the Qantas Television Awards' Best Presenter category six times, and was a finalist in the People's Choice Award for Best Female TV Personality 2005.