When TVNZ celebrated 50 years of network news, Alex Casey celebrated 50 of the most iconic looks that otherwise might be left forgotten.
This post was published in November 2019.
This week, as TVNZ celebrates 50 years of network news, there will be much time devoted to the stories that stopped the nation. Plumes of smoke billowing out of Mt Ruapehu. Dame Whina Kupa on an unsealed road. John Walker running very fast. These are the images that united us, the ones etched in our collective memory forever.
But I’m not going to talk about any of that. I want to talk about the funny newsroom looks. I’m talking weird desk setups, I’m talking shoulder pads for the gods, I’m talking a walk-in wardrobe of novelty ties. In an attempt to preserve the art of News Fashion, I watched every available clip on Youtube (big shout out to Dan News) and have assembled this list.
50) The scorched Earth: who wore it better?
Okay, so this is not an outfit per se. But in a way, isn’t the Earth just a giant, shared shoe for all of us? These weather maps were made just three decades apart – a very bad look everyone!!!!!!!!!
49) (Sherlock) Holmes trench
Yes it was a big deal for Paul Holmes to go and interview Margaret Thatcher in 1993. But look me in the eye and tell me that’s not the same trench that three raccoons wear when they stack themselves on top of each other and pretend to read a newspaper on the train.
48) Jim Hickey, 80s car salesman
Sorry Matilda’s dad in Matilda.
47) Baby Prince William eating a buzzy bee in 1983
It’s a metaphor for colonisation.
46) This Kate Hawkesby ensemble
Look, it was a different time.
45) Cray Hickey
Very “Lady Gaga”.
44) This bad logo 1985-1994
Big insurance energy
43) Mutch to talk about
You gotta watch this clip where Jessica Mutch leaves her colleague Nadine Higgins hanging during a live cross in 2013. Mutch’s steely gaze, glam location and immaculate makeup feels straight off a Killing Eve mood board.
42) Another weird logo
Anyone else see a swan making out with a star making out with a swan making out with a star? I gotta stop watching The Human Centipede.
41) Forecast looks blue
I have a blue house with a blue window /
Blue is the colour of all that I wear /
Blue are the streets and all the trees are too /
I’ll do the weather, as long as it’s blue
40) Unlucky Brendan Horan
Tfw you get belted with bird shit during high winds in the mid-2000s.
39) Jesus walks
Melissa Stokes LOOK OUT HE’S BEHIND YOOOOU
38) Big suit
The truth is out there.
37) These burn book graphics from 1971
Extremely brutal and shady of way of showing that Taiwan was out of the UN.
36) Peter Williams gets Punk*d
Every newsreader knows that the perfect fashion accessory is a man doing a rambunctious jig.
35) Holmes vs. Thatcher title card, 1993
Why is this my primary school science fair presentation?
34) Putting the ew in news.
Okay so this was the late news but still, how funny to sit next to a huge sign that says “EW NEWS.” Chuck it on me tombstone.
33) Dougal Stevenson avoiding my gaze
In 1971, Dougal Stevenson was doing a LOT of reading from endless pieces of paper, flitting his eyes up only every 10 seconds or so. Very relatable delivery and was “don’t look at me” over 30 years before Damien in Mean Girls said “don’t look at me.”
Also: don’t look at me.
32) Mafioso Sam Wallace
Sorry Alfredo Pacino
31) Wendy in the trenches
30) I am D’Batman
This is clearly a subliminal message for vigilante justice. Change my mind.
29) Hickey’s bacon tie
I would like to eat that tie very much.
The boys are on (the TV)
27) This lady in the control room
The year is 1971 and The Matrix is real.
26) Bowden at the Oscars
If there’s anything better than man in a tux, it’s a man in a tux having an absolute bloody mare on his telephone during a live cross.
25) Dallow in space, 2019
Dalloooww frroooom the ooooooother siiiiiiiiiiide
24) Aquaman Bailey blazer
At first it’s just a good blazer, but at the end of this 90s broadcast Bailey reveals that the SLEEVES HAVE WEIRD BLACK GILLS UNDERNEATH. Deep sea chic.
23) Cyber thing
“The ultimate bargaining tool, a gadget that compares shop prices on the internet.”
22) Jimbo Polo
I’m lovin’ cloud nine [weather], my head’s in the sky [thinking about the weather] /
I’m solo, I’m wearin’ polo /
I’m wearin’ polo, I’m wearin’ solo polo
21) Santa Dan
You’ve heard of Santa, but have you met his enthusiastic cousin Dan-ta? “You know where he’s coming first,” Dan Corbett frothed in 2015. “To New Zealand. He’s coming here, we’ve got the air of high pressure, he’s going to zoom his way in, he’s going to visit all the spots.”
20) Bill Ralston in pastels
Is the suit pink and white or mint and grey?
19) Classic Simon and Ali
Mom and Dad.
18) Classic Richard and Judy
Also Mom and Dad.
17) Hickey ghost sunnies
This clip celebrates Jim Hickey’s mime artistry, surely inspired by Tom Bradley’s many ties with many eyes. If you thought that was surreal, then how about this closing advice – “buy a tourist a pizza.” Indeed.
16) Angela D’Audney street style
Imagine looking this glam and composed as you get out of your cool TVNZ car to go to your first TVNZ news broadcast in 1973?????
15) Wendy Petrie’s fist pump look
Purple blazer, OJ black glove – Judd Nelson is smiling.
14) Red alert
The Sunmaid Raisin Lady could never.
13) This moving eclipse
12) Black and yellow black and yellow
“You can call me Queen B”
11) Jim Hickey demonstrates how much 16mm is
At first I was going to talk about the luxe mustard and purple tapestry tie, but then Hickey did this. “16 mm over four days – how much is that?” he turns and throws his arms out like weather Jesus, revealing a satanic spine of masking tape. “That much.”
10) Jandals May Coffin
You may remember the controversy following a truly hectic letter published in the TV Guide, where pregnant Jenny May Coffin was labelled an “eyesore” by a confused grump in Lower Hutt. But even more memorable was her final broadcast, done in jandals. “The day I had to wear jandals on air was the day I was going to stand down – so today is that day.”
9) Tom Bradley’s 1994 sunnies tie
Now that’s what I call… fifty shades.
8) The original Hot Priest
7) Dan Corbett’s fingers
Salad Fingers walked so Dan Corbett could run. Don’t @ me.
6) Grahame Thorne’s perm
It was as true in 1983 as it is now: Get. A. Perm. From NZ On Screen: “Thorne’s hottest 15 minutes came after he dared to present the sports news one day in 1983… with a perm. The ensuing national trauma inspired headlines, irate phonecalls, and ‘curls are for girls’ banners at rugby games. Sadly the perm’s freshest incarnation is lost to the archives, and this slightly grown-out version is the only extant evidence of a key moment in Kiwi fashion history.”
5) Customs sport blazer
Rare. If someone would like to donate one of these to The Real Pod museum, please get in touch.
4) Legolas Coffey
Weather tomorrow? A red sun rises… blood has been spilled on this night
3) Tina Carline, 1980s legend
Obsessed with every part of this relaxed weather look. The silver eyeshadow. The delicate necklace. The pastel pink t-shirt that seems like staff uniform from a day spa. And if that wasn’t enough, how good is the pass agg East Coast forecast that seems like it’s fighting with itself. “Fine?” “Fine.”
2) Richard Long’s moustache
Mo mo, less problems. But still not as good as the number one news look…
1) D’Audney? More like D’Greatest
End of list.