Originally from Waimate and a product of St Kevin’s College, Manaia Stewart is now broadcasting alongside New Zealand comedy legend Leigh Hart as a host on Radio Hauraki’s afternoon show Bhuja. Oamaru Mail reporter Gus Patterson chats to him about life in Auckland’s media bubble.
Q What have you been doing since you left St Kevin’s College?
I got a degree in media and communications from the University of Otago and had no idea what to do with it. But the freezing works are always hiring, so I became the highest qualified man in the lamb cuts department at Silver Fern Farms’ meatworks at Pareora. I bounced around building sites and shore alpacas in the United Kingdom with a mate. I figured there had to be an easier way to make a crust and ended up at radio school – that mate ended up at the Oamaru Mail.
Q How were those formative years in Waimate and at St Kevin’s College?
You might grow in a different place, but you will not grow up in a better place than Waimate. And what other school can boast an actual castle?
Q Do you make it back here to visit much?
Not as often as I would like. My Mum does not live there any more, and once you factor in the drive from Christchurch Airport, Waimate is as far away from Auckland as Tonga.
Q And now you’re working for Radio Hauraki. How did you get your job hosting the drive show?
I just happened to sit closest to the studio when Jason Hoyte left Bhuja
Q What does a day in the life of a radio presenter look like?
I do not set an alarm in the mornings. You would not either if you did not have to. I bus to work at around lunchtime. The next few hours are spent figuring out what giveaways/guests/music features we have coming up and what we are going to talk about. Show is on from 4-7pm weekdays and I am home between 7.30-10pm, depending on whether I go to the pub or not.
Q Who is the most famous person you have interviewed? And have you you had any faux pas on air?
Alice Cooper was on the show recently and told us about Elvis asking him to point a pistol at him so Elvis could practise disarming him. For one mad moment, Alice considered pulling the trigger and going down in history. On air, I recently introduced the Black Seeds as the Black Keys.
Q Would you class yourself as a New Zealand celebrity now?
No. Radio Hauraki doesn’t have a frequency in South Canterbury so my mates think it’s an iwi station. I do know people who are New Zealand celebrities and whenever someone asks them for a photo they ask me to take it.
Q What is something you miss about the Waimate and Waitaki districts?
Getting home from work in five minutes. Not being surrounded by Aucklanders.
Q What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?