Broadcasting veteran Pio Terei continues to stay relevant to Aotearoa viewers.
His latest show, Terei Tonight has quickly become the highest viewed show on Māori Television.
Comedian to talk show host
Pio and Nix - Photo / File
Terei says the idea for the show emerged during lockdown.
“I was talking to someone from Māori TV,” Terei says.
“They said ‘what are you doing?’ I was doing stuff but the corporate market had stopped because you couldn’t have crowds.”
Terei mentioned that he’d love to do a talk show. He didn’t have a set format, he didn’t have a plan.
But he had a name – Terei Tonight.
One conversation and the rest as they say, was history.
“Everybody got together and in a really quick time … this thing started to blossom.”
'One day your own show!'
Personalities such as Israel Adesanya, Neil Waka, Pania Newton and social media influencer Nix have appeared on the show.
The Hokianga funny man recognised Nix for her authenticity and inherent talent.
"You know I said to her (Nix), 'one day you're gonna have your own show'!"
Terei sees great potential in Nix, and has taken on the responsibility to help her grow. He paid tribute to her tenacity in overcoming the obstacles in her life.
"We talk all the time, we talk every second day," he says.
"I have an obligation to make sure that her huarahi (road) is good and solid as she moves forward."
From left, Pio Terei, Nix, and Israel Adensaya - Photo / File
A fighter pilot for Te Ao Māori
After almost four decades in the business, Terei says his passion keeps him going.
“Number one, I love it. Number two, I think it’s a privilege to work in this industry," he says.
"Number three whether we like it or not I consider myself a fighter pilot for te ao Māori.”
Terei admits not knowing some of his younger guests before having them on the show. But he knows connecting with the new generation is essential.
“When you look at our kaumatua, even though they were people with knowledge, they were also people who wanted to be life learners," he says.
"So I think if you are not a life learner with whatever you do, then what is the purpose?"
Talking about the hard topics in a 'Māori way' has been refreshing for the veteran TV personality.
On the road
In past times, Terei has travelled the country, and the world, making small screen shows. As well as interviewing celebrities, he'd like to celebrate local unsung heroes.
"One day I'd like to see it at the Gaiety Theatre in Wairoa!"
He says that while his pool of guests may not be as broad as those on similar shows overseas, he says we have the best talent.
Terei also hopes to bring the likes of Mike King to discuss issues such as suicide and mental health.