My first job was …

my first "real job" was in the shearing sheds as a "rousey". The toughest physical job I've ever done, we worked a 12-hour day, seven days a week while on stayout. During summer the sheds sweltered, the work was tedious but the company was outstanding.

It taught me… to appreciate people with physical jobs. Like my dad who is a bushman, many other Māori men work their entire lives in physical jobs, in the end, a Māori male on average can expect to live with a disability from around 54 years of age while a Pākehā male won't have to worry until they're on average 66 years old.

My big break came… when I was in an end of year performance for a te reo Māori course in 1993. I was acting the part of the TV presenter and the actual TV producer for Te Karere was present and offered me an internship.


The last job I quit was… Radio New Zealand.

The most famous person I've ever met is… Michael Jackson. Eat your heart out Taika Waititi.

He came in 1997 for a concert, I was working for Aotearoa Television Network, the precursor to Māori TV. The camerawoman and I broke through security and somehow got to the window of his car, he wound down the window and spoke to me. I was 25 and it was gold.

The best time I've had on set/at work was… every day is a good day in journalism but recently we won a TV award for our work with Ngā Mōrehu – Survivors of State Abuse. Winning awards are definitely in the "best time" category.

But the worst was… when you work in investigative journalism, you unsettle hornets' nests and sometimes there are some very nasty wasps that come after you.

My dream project would be… I'm working on it but I can't tell you yet.

• Mihingarangi Forbes hosts The Hui on Three, Sundays at 9.30am