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Pop CultureAugust 15, 2020

Ranking the top five TV news masks of Lockdown 2.0


From the trusty old blue disposable medical face mask to a bandana made out of a pair of gruts, New Zealand’s TV news and current affairs shows have been a veritable parade of PPE this week. José Barbosa has compiled all the best examples here:

The news that Auckland was moving back to level three and the rest of the country to level two last week came at us fast. We had little more than half a day to prepare this time, but it was OK – we had all been here before, we knew what to do. There was, however, one key difference: in this lockdown it was advised that people should wear a protective mask or some form of facial covering any time they leave the house.

Leaving the house is a big part of a TV news reporter’s job. And it’s important for TV news reporters to model correct pandemic behaviour at all times, for a lot of reasons, not least to avoid being yelled at online. At the same time, our current affairs shows may have suddenly found themselves with more time than expected to fill, and what better way to fill it than with instructional craft segments on how to fashion a makeshift mask out of common household items?

As a result we have seen an incredible array of facial coverings in the first 48 hours of Lockdown 2.0. While many reporters managed to grab a standard-issue blue disposable medical face mask from the emergency newsroom supply, others, like Breakfast’s Wilson Longhurst, were caught on the hop and had to fashion something out of an old T-shirt. His first effort actually looked quite cool, but his second attempt looked like a low-effort, last-minute Watchmen costume at Armageddon.

In a textbook example of “news you can use”, Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry fashioned a mask out of a bra cup, while her colleague Mary-Jane Aggett demonstrated how to fashion a balaclava out of a pair of boxer-brief gruts. On The Project, Nadine Higgins wore a reusable mask that looked like it was styled on Marvel’s Winter Soldier.

But the bouquet for best TV news mask of  the first 48 hours of Lockdown 2.0 actually goes to an interviewee. Manurewa marae chairman Rangi McLean’s bespoke kōwhaiwhai pattern mask is easily the best and coolest facial covering seen on the news this week. In terms of both style and correct usage, it’s something for us all to aspire to in the weeks ahead.

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