Renee Wright, 39, is a weather presenter on TVNZ’s 1 News and mother to three children – Leo, eight, Gigi, six, and Arabella, four. But she tells Stuff that, much like the climate, things don’t always go according to plan.
Have you ever had an embarrassing on-air stuff-up?
Every other day I’m sure. It’s just part and parcel. We’re all human. That happens all the time. Words get switched around. Maybe I’ve worked the mornings and some evenings and I’m tired. Those things happen all the time. They happen to everyone. I don’t know anyone who’s always spot on and perfect. I’ve talked about it before, but I had the working mum boob leak. So I came back to work when my children were really little. I breast fed them all until they were 14 months old. I was back after maybe they were about 10 weeks old. With Arabella I came back after she was five weeks old and I didn’t realise but my boob leaked when I was doing the weather. Luckily, I think I got away with it because there was a strategically placed ruffle on my dress, which looks like a shadow, but I heard the director in my ear go, ‘What is on your top? Is your boob leaking?’
You must get asked about the weather a lot?
Every day. It can be while I’m doing the grocery shopping or picking up the kids from school. It might be first thing in the morning when I get a text from someone saying, ‘Hey um …’ I mean it’s part of it. It’s to be expected.
What are some of the oddest or most bizarre questions you’ve been asked about the weather?
It’s more about people thinking that you have some sort of influence over it. Because really, I don’t have those kind of powers. So people are a bit ticked off. They really don’t want rain for their barbecue over the weekend.
Why do you think New Zealanders are so obsessed with weather?
I think it’s because we’re two little islands and with so much water around us. It’s unlike other places around the world where, day in day out, it is much the same. We do get a lot of weather here with our location. And because we’re an outdoors kind of nation, we’ve got farmers who rely so heavily on the weather and rainfall.
You do the channel promos for TVNZ 1. How do you look after your voice?
The thing I tend to have before I do voicing is a chamomile tea. The warmth of that relaxes your vocal cords. It’s just a nice calming drink.
On television you always look immaculately groomed and glamorous …
Thank you. It’s got nothing to do with me. I roll into here (the TVNZ studios) looking like an absolute mess. We’ve got these amazing make-up magicians here. Clifton Piper is our head stylist and he chooses what we’re going to wear. So it’s a team effort. I can’t take credit for any of it.
What is your best tip for any working mother?
Be kind to yourself. The pressure – and I think it’s pressure we put on ourselves – is to do everything. The mum guilt is so real. When I’m not with the kids I’m missing them and when I’m with the kids, I feel like I should be working. It’s constant but you just have to quieten that voice and be kind to yourself and know you’re doing your best. We’re all trying to do the best for our kids and ourselves and our relationships.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I’ve always wanted to work in TV. I used to do a lot of TV commercials and acting when I was a kid. My mum had a modelling agency so I grew up in that world.
How would your friends describe you?
Tall, quick to laugh and a bit clumsy.
The Beach: We’ve been lucky enough to live near the beach for much of my life and there is something about it. The water, the sand, it’s such a calming, happy place.
My family: Obviously my greatest love is my children. I’m obsessed with each and every one of their quirks and little personalities and it’s just such a thrill to see them develop and grow into the little people that they are. It’s a real privilege.
Sunshine: It’s my favourite outlook when it comes to the weather. I like a nice big ridge of high pressure.
Star Anise: I don’t get that. It’s this fancy spice that people go crazy for and I don’t know why. It’s like aniseed. It takes over and dominates whatever it is in. It’s all I can taste.
Knock it off: That Chumbawamba song, I Get Knocked Down (Tubthumping). I can’t deal with that song. I know so many people love it, but I really don’t. I don’t love that song at all. I’m not sure why.
Really strong winds: They just leave you feeling harassed. I’m not into winds.