Bernie on the go:

Since leav­ing TVNZ, Ber­na­dine Oliver-Kerby has been swamped with work and is now fronting the weekly sports opin­ion show New Zealand Press Box. Kerry Har­vey re­ports.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Ber­na­dine Oliver-Kerby is rel­ish­ing her new roles with Sky TV.

It doesn’t take long to re­alise that Ber­na­dine Oliver-Kerby op­er­ates only at top speed. “I re­mem­ber some­one say­ing they saw me walk past a shop they were in, stuck their head out the door and I’d gone,” she says, laugh­ing. “They said, ‘My god, you talk fast and you even walk fast’. I am al­ways on the go. I don’t sit round and flick through mag­a­zines or paint my nails. I’m al­ways do­ing some­thing. That’s just the way I’m wired.” Which is why it should come as no sur­prise that the ex­pe­ri­enced broad­caster didn’t sit around twid­dling her thumbs when, in 2017, TVNZ failed to re­new her week­end news-pre­sent­ing con­tract – de­spite her 25 years with the net­work. Oliver-Kerby was snapped up by Sky and the move has proved a win­ner. “The doors that have opened post-TVNZ have been in­cred­i­ble,” she says. She has cov­ered the Amer­ica’s Cup and the Win­ter Olympics and swapped a 12-year news-read­ing stint on New­stalk ZB’s morn­ing show for a job co-host­ing the Break­fast show on the Coast ra­dio sta­tion. Then, in March, she started pre­sent­ing Sky’s new monthly half-hour sports en­ter­tain­ment show New Zealand Press Box. It has proved so pop­u­lar, it is now go­ing weekly and Oliver-Kerby is stoked. “We had an in­cred­i­ble re­sponse and

feed­back from jour­nal­ists want­ing to be on the show but also a fan­tas­tic re­sponse from ath­letes, who love the for­mat, love the ban­ter and that the spot­light is on their sport,” she says.

“There is noth­ing like it on TV. There are var­i­ous sport codes that have their own shows but this cov­ers all of them and the is­sues and opin­ions sur­round­ing those var­i­ous sports so it’s quite unique.”

It is Oliver-Kerby’s job to wrangle a bunch of the coun­try’s lead­ing sports jour­nal­ists, all ea­ger to voice their opin­ion on what­ever sport­ing event or code is un­der dis­cus­sion.

“I think I’ve def­i­nitely earned my ref­eree’s stripes,” she says. “They are such pro­fes­sion­als, sea­soned jour­nal­ists who have a pas­sion for sport and are never short of an opin­ion.

“It can be ex­plo­sive. It’s raw and it’s hon­est and what makes it re­fresh­ing, is that we’re not tip­toe­ing around is­sues. Peo­ple have widely dif­fer­ing opin­ions on things and that’s life isn’t it?”

While Press Box does not screen live, it is filmed the same day and there is no script and no edit­ing.

“You never know what is com­ing next. Not only do you have to be in­formed on all your top­ics, you have to be pretty quick off the mark with re­ac­tions,” she says.

“I quite en­joy that part of it. I quite en­joy hav­ing a laugh and hav­ing that quick ban­ter. You can’t be any­one else. You’ve got to be you. That’s fake. Don’t do fake news, don’t do fake pre­sen­ters.”

It’s a per­fect fit for Oliver-Kerby who was a sports re­porter long be­fore she took up read­ing the news.

“It’s a pas­sion for me. I’ve al­ways got a close eye on what’s hap­pen­ing in the sport­ing world,” she says.

“My hus­band (po­lice­man Mark Len­drum) is a sport fa­natic so I’ll of­ten find him in his spare time – which is quite rare – watch­ing NFL, AFL, snooker, any­thing. He’d prob­a­bly watch mar­bles.

“We’re a fam­ily of sports fans so it’s not a hard­ship to keep an eye on what’s go­ing on in the sport­ing world.”

And while she ad­mits the cou­ple’s work hours are a bit of a night­mare, their op­pos­ing shifts mean there’s lots of time to spend with their equally ac­tive chil­dren – daugh­ters Maisey, 10, and Scar­lett, eight. “I coach two net­ball teams at school, my hus­band coaches the Rippa team. We are fully hands-on and we are prob­a­bly at school al­most as much as the kids,” she says.

“We love be­ing in­volved with the kids and be­cause we have shift­work, it means we can be the par­ent help, help­ing at swim­ming sports, help­ing at Water­wise, help­ing on all those ex­tra cur­ric­u­lar things.”

But there is a catch. When New Zealand Press Box goes to air, Oliver-Kerby will not be watch­ing.

“Af­ter a friend’s 40th birth­day party – and per­haps one or two vi­nos too many – we thought it would be a great idea to get the mums of our pri­mary school chil­dren to get a net­ball team to­gether,” she says.

“No one thought it was go­ing to hap­pen but some­one reg­is­tered us as a team and all of a sud­den we got a re­minder to say your first game is at 8pm at court 12 so we had to scrap to­gether eight play­ers. Not only did we do that, we’ve got a wait list and we’re do­ing not too bad for old girls. But it is the same night as Press Box.”

“It can be ex­plo­sive. It’s raw and it’s hon­est and what makes it re­fresh­ing, is that we’re not tip­toe­ing around is­sues.”

– Ber­na­dine Oliver-Kerby

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