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Kanoa Lloyd’s life in TV (Design: Archi Banal)
Kanoa Lloyd’s life in TV (Design: Archi Banal)

Pop CultureNovember 25, 2023

‘Everyone is wearing shorts under the desk’: Kanoa Lloyd reveals the truth about live TV

Kanoa Lloyd’s life in TV (Design: Archi Banal)
Kanoa Lloyd’s life in TV (Design: Archi Banal)

Ahead of The Project NZ’s final week, Kanoa Lloyd looks back on some of her most memorable TV moments, including Squirt, Sticky TV and a certain ‘come box’ blooper.

Kanoa Lloyd’s television career began over two decades ago, when she burst onto our screens as a presenter on children’s TV show Squirt. Lloyd (Ngāti Porou) was still at high school in Dunedin when she joined the Squirt team in 2003, and later called the breakthrough role “the best high school job ever”. Squirt wasn’t the only children’s TV show she was involved with – in 2009 Lloyd went on to co-host after-school series Sticky TV alongside Sam Wallace and Drew Ne’emia. 

After a stint as a newsreader on Mai FM, Lloyd returned to our screens in 2014 as the weather presenter for 3News, where she annoyed some viewers by “daring” to use reo Māori during her broadcasts. Lloyd later presented lifestyle shows Sort Your Life Out and Moving Out with Kanoa, but it’s her long-running stint as co-anchor of Three’s nightly news and entertainment show The Project NZ that is Lloyd’s most defining TV role to date.

Lloyd (second from right) with The Project NZ co-hosts Jeremy Corbett and Jesse Mulligan, and guest fourth host Laura Daniel

Since The Project NZ began in 2016, Lloyd has tackled everything from unrealistic beauty standards to standing up against racism, interviewed famous movie stars and reported on some of the biggest events in the country. The Project NZ definitely wasn’t the same old song and dance, but Discovery recently announced that the show is coming to an end after seven years, its final episode airing on December 1. 

“We’ve had an incredibly good innings and we’re so proud of everything our team has accomplished over seven years,” Lloyd told The Spinoff. “We’ve teared up reading messages from our beautiful audience and those who have contributed to the show – it’s nice to feel like we’re going out with love and support from a great big whānau.” 

As The Project NZ heads into its final week, we asked Lloyd to reflect on some of her favourite television memories, including that iconic “come box” blooper, an utterly unforgettable TV ad and a shocking revelation about the reality of live television. 


The TV show I used to rush home from school to watch was… I grew up in that weird era where they played reruns of I Dream of Jeannie and The Brady Bunch. I wouldn’t say I rushed home to watch them. But it’s quite cute that we got them. 

The TV moment that haunts me the most is…Come box”. (If you haven’t seen it, Google it!)

My earliest TV crush was… Captain Planet. Was it the mullet? The turquoise skin? Or did I just love his leadership qualities and climate activism? Only five-year-old me knows. 

My TV guilty pleasure is… I just finished Selling the OC. Zero guilt! 

What I wish people knew about making live TV is… Everyone is wearing shorts and sneakers under the desk.

The TV ad I can’t stop thinking about is… I still remember every word of the Utter Nutter Peanut Butter jingle. Do you know one of those lil nutters was Drew Ne’emia? Sorry if that’s a secret, Drew! In the interests of fairness I will out myself as the goth girl in the Otago Uni “Take Your Place in The World” ads. I still wish she hadn’t taken off her black lipstick. That was sick. 

My favourite memory about making children’s television is… Honestly, it’s hard for me to remember a favourite moment. Is it because I’m old? I truly believe kids TV is the best place to learn how to make any kind of television – don’t worry about an expensive degree. I loved all the people making Squirt, they were so cool. And my memories of Sticky TV are mainly… stress!

My favourite TV project I’ve ever been involved in is… Three’s Sort Your Life Out. I grew up watching makeover shows and I got to live the dream by making that! So many lovely families, and an incredible hardworking team behind the scenes.

The TV show that defined my lockdown was… Tiger King, I guess. I’ve sort of mentally blocked out lockdown to survive day-to-day life and foster a glimmer of hope for the future.  

My most-watched TV show of all time is… The news? 

My most controversial TV opinion is… People from television shouldn’t get into politics. Nothing good has ever come of it and nothing ever will.

A show I will never watch, no matter how many people say I should is… Downton Abbey or The Crown. I prefer my Brits to be modern and fictional. 

The Project NZ screens Monday – Friday at 7pm and streams on Three Now. A one-hour farewell special screens on Friday 1 December at 7pm. 

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