Lower Hutt-raised Libby Hakaraia begun her broadcasting career as a 17 year-old, in a smoky Radio Waikato newsroom.
A field report she filed on the Edgecumbe earthquake scored a work offer in Auckland. There the cub reporter encountered reactionary radio ‘jocks’ and editors, and covered Māori protests. A cultural consciousness began to dawn: “It was brought to my attention by some Māori that I was mispronouncing place names and shamefully that I was mispronouncing my last name.”
Veteran broadcasters Henare Te Ua and Haare Williams gave Hakaria an opportunity on new station Radio Aotearoa, where the 20 year-old ran a news team of six journalists.
A gig at Australia’s ABC (including reporting from the Barcelona Olympics) was followed by an OE crewing yachts.
Drawn back to Aotearoa, she paired up with Te Ua for a seven year stint on National Radio’s Māori magazine show Whenua. “Henare would take me all over the country: to marae, to hui of national significance, and to meet all manner of people. We broadcast from major events for Māoridom. He was a superb broadcaster and a wonderful mentor.”