By ETHAN GRIFFITHS
Patrick Gower, or Paddy as he is overwhelmingly affectionately known, is a name that most New Zealanders will undoubtedly recognise. Most know him as Newshub’s former Political Editor, or ‘that TV guy’ who became infamous after his “this is the fu**ing news” skit. I had a chat with Paddy to find out the most key moments in his career, and what he’s up to now, as well as his nomination for Television Personality of the Year at the NZTV Awards.
Patrick Gower left school in Taranaki in 1994. He went on to study at two institutions; first a degree in political science from Victoria University, then a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at AUT. Adventure, as he puts it, was what got him into journalism in the first place.
“I love people, I love telling stories, I love adventure. In journalism you get to spend every day doing this, it is the perfect job for me”
Gower’s first job was with the New Zealand Herald, who he joined in 2000, working a graveyard shift from 6 pm to 1:30 am. After a while of doing that, he jumped into arguably the craziest area of journalism in New Zealand; the parliamentary press gallery. Gower first worked under NZ Herald Political Editor Audrey Young for two years, before switching teams and working as a reporter on 3News (now Newshub) as a reporter under the guise of Duncan Garner, who now hosts The AM Show.
This is where Paddy earned his reputation as one of New Zealand’s most inquisitive, hardworking and no-BS type journos. The press gallery is explosive most of the time, and absolutely nuclear at its height. In Paddy’s time in the gallery, he covered multiple defining moments and political scandals of the last four elections. His first big award, an NZTV award for Best News Report was won alongside Duncan Garner for their joint coverage of the 2011 teapot-tapes scandal involving John Key. Since then, Gower has covered the Judith Collins Oravida controversy, Labour’s leadership changes, two American presidential elections, including press conferences with Donald Trump, and of course, hosting Three’s live Newshub Leader’s Debate last year, between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern, which he labels as the most memorable moment in his career.
“The election was on a knife-edge, huge pressure. We had a debate about ideas and it put politics in people’s living rooms for them to choose. That’s what it was all about for me – politics for the people.”
“When People vote, they hand over their power. As a political journalist, you get to fight to get the truth out about how that power is getting used.”
Of the four elections and three governments Paddy has covered, nothing seems to compare to the 2017 campaign which got Labour in government and Jacinda Ardern into the top spot as PM.
“Incredible waves of political energy were out there and it was actually really positive. That’s awesome. Politics should be positive.”
Since the end of 2017, Paddy has left the press gallery and become Newshub’s ‘National Correspondent’, a position which sees him explore “real stories about real Kiwi’s”.
“I am out and about roving around New Zealand doing stories – Gloriavale, Pike River, you name it I am there. I love it.”
It’s a job he hopes to do for much longer; you can certainly sense the immense passion for journalism and telling stories in Paddy’s voice.
This year, Paddy has been named as a nominee for the Woman’s Day TV Personality of the Year Award, to be announced at the NZTV awards later this month – a significant achievement for the journalist who has been in media all his working life.
I remember meeting Paddy on a black-sand Taranaki beach when I was ten or eleven, sitting down and chatting. It was one of the biggest inspirations that brought me into journalism myself – the desire to explore and ask questions. Paddy remains that easy-going, approachable and friendly Taranaki lad he has always been, still working hard to bring stories that matter to New Zealand, and certainly having fun doing it.
His advice for anyone wanting to get into journalism? Just do it.
“Just get out there and do some stories. Start with your school magazine. Always believe In yourself, anyone who is curious can be a journo. It is actually easy. Start by asking a question!”
You can vote for Patrick Gower for NZTV Personality of the Year by clicking here, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @PatrickGowerNZ.
ETHAN GRIFFITHS is TEARAWAY’s Political Editor. Young, passionate and a wannabe babysitter for Neve Ardern, Ethan won’t stop talking about politics. Likes a bit of cricket, wearing trendy ties and is in love with Jeff the purple wiggle.
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