Alex Casey looks back at two glorious weeks of Anika Moa guest hosting on Seven Sharp alongside Hilary Barry.
It began with Anika Moa sitting in Jeremy Wells’ chair, proclaiming live on air that she was so nervous she felt like vomiting and reaching over to touch Hilary Barry to make sure she was real. It ends tonight, after two weeks of laughter, mayhem, and jibes at Israel Folau, with honestly god knows what. I’ve watched every episode of the Anika-era Seven Sharp – potentially my biggest binge of any 7pm current affairs show ever, and I’m here to say I had a very nice time doing it.
I’ve enjoyed the reintroduction of the word “biarch” into common parlance, I’ve enjoyed watching two women make each other cry with laughter regularly, and I really enjoyed the story where they examined a worrying spike in swimming pool “code browns” over summer. “Call it what it is Hilary – pooing in the pool. Poo-poo,” said Anika, cracking herself up for the 400th time. That’s one great moment floating among many in the Seven Sharp wave pool, so I decided to chronicle the best parts that made me think, in the words of Hilary herself, “Jeremy who?”
#1 The stormy bra
“How was the storm in your mansion up on a hill looking down on all the people?” Anika asked Hilz, doing a classic ‘rich person drinking a thimble of sherry’ impression. When the yuuuge storm knocked Auckland around last week, it took down hundreds of trees, left thousands without power, and one TV presenter without her brassiere. “My bra could house a small family so, if you found it, you’re welcome,” said Anika of her lost washing line lingerie. “It will be wrecked by now, it’s about the size of a tent.” “Aerodynamics,” nodded Hilary.
#2 Waist trainer woes
Look, I don’t know what stage of feminism it is to say that Hilary and Anika cracking themselves up while being squeezed into incredibly stupid modern-day corsets felt quietly revolutionary, but that’s just sort of what I think. To tease an upcoming story about 24 year-old millionaire Iyia Liu, who paid $300,000 to get Kylie Jenner in one of her waist trainers on Instagram, Anika opened the show wearing one in the studio.
“I am about to pass out, see yas! Passing out in your lap in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” She was laughing, but it also genuinely seemed like she might be about to die, which was exciting. One bodice rip and an ad break later, Hilary was wearing one too and the pair were in fits at the incredibly throwback method of women-meat-molding. “Where do your organs go?” asked Anika. “I can feel mine peeking out the bottom,” said Hilary. Too rude!
#3 Anika saying anything, anytime, about anyone
#4 Race relations
Last night’s episode opened with both hosts wearing bejewelled tiaras, which is exactly what I’ve come to expect now when tuning into TVNZ1 at 7pm every night. Hilary wanted to know if Anika was excited about the royal wedding, one month out from the big day. “Um, you’re asking a Māori feminist? I’m not… Have you ever heard of Te Tiriti o Waitangi? Just saying.”
#5 Tattoo gate
It began with an angry letter from a man named Peter who didn’t like Anika’s tatts, and it ended with Anika dropping a response so good that she forced me write “clap back” in a headline on this very website. “I will not be watching this programme or any other programme until the tattoos are covered,” wrote Peter, while Anika spun around in her chair and frantically tried to cover up the treasonous tattoos on her chest, arms and hands to stop his eyes burning.
If he got a moment of calm, it wasn’t to last long. “Would you like me to also be a different skin colour and male while you’re at it?” Anika swivelled back around, before giving a bit of feedback herself. “My tattoos, or moko as I like to call them, are a direct link to my whakapapa – family tree – and my whānau and I’m really proud to have my culture on my skin.”
#6 Anika making faces when Hilz wasn’t looking
Although ‘Anika laughing at inappropriate times’ was another strong contender for the greatest hits list, there’s nothing quite like doing this pure emoji face while the mother of nation is simply trying to do her job very well. Five stars.
Inspired by the Commonwealth Games, Anika and Hilary hit the exercise bikes (no waist trainers to be seen) to see how hard it is to talk after you’ve been exercising. The experiment quickly evolved into a skit situation, where the pair became teammates faced with a punctured tyre.
“I’ve got a puncture,” said Hilary, in an award-winning performance as Inconvenienced Rider #1. Anika had other plans. “Nah I’m gonna get gold soz, bye Hilz Baz”
#8 Whoever this lady is
A very special mention to this Whanganui legend who fleshed out an unlikely trio very well with her brazen attempt at getting an invite to Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding. Turns out writing to the Queen and just straight up asking to get in does NOT work. Five stars.
#9 Cupcake boobs
Yes to cupcake boobs. Yes to Anika shovelling macarons in her mouth then spitting them out and putting them back on the tray. Yes to Hilary eventually cracking too and having a hoon on a cupcake as well.
#10 Witnessing the greatest love story ever told
From one touch…
… to a pinkie swear…
….to a pash attempt…
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…to smearing each others faces like newlyweds…
… you’d be hard-pressed to find a better New Zealand love story at 7pm. “You snort on national television,” said Hilary, “I couldn’t love you anymore.” “Stop coming onto me,” replied Anika.
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