|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2014)|
Neil Waka is a New Zealand broadcaster and journalist. He has been in broadcasting for 25 years beginning in radio as a news and current affairs journalist before moving into Television. Waka helped establish and was the first presenter in New Zealand to present the weekday 4:30 pm news bulletins on ONE News for TVNZ, for almost two years from 2007.
Neil first became known on New Zealand television screens whilst working on TV3's 3 News from 1989, reporting general news and presenting news updates. He was seconded from the newsroom to present, report and produced on his first television sports show which he presented/reported and produced for three years before deciding to head back into mainstream news after he was offered the presenter role on late night news show Nightline along with reporting duties.
TV3 went into receivership early in Neil's television career which provided him the opportunity to develop additional skills within the network including learning to edit for news and sports stories. TV3 also afforded Neil the opportunity to develop many aspects of his craft, presenting a number of television programmes including a show which encouraged fathers to spend more quality time with their children. This fitted nicely into his interests as he had a young son at the time.
During the 90's Neil became a television presenter which included a six-year hosting role on Air New Zealand's in-flight video programme.
Inside New Zealand became one of the most popular programmes Neil presented which constantly provided high ratings for TV3, a programme he fronted for more than six years.
Following his three-year stint presenting Nightline at TV3, Neil was promoted to weekend 6pm News Anchor at the network and became the official stand-in news anchor for the week day 6pm bulletin.
Neil was one of the first main stream news presenters of Maori heritage and is widely recognised as one of the first main stream news anchors to begin the news with the traditional Maori greeting "Kia Ora".
While presenting the 6pm news at TV3 Neil began a closing signature never before tried in New Zealand. It was simply closing the bulletin with "I'm Neil Waka, good night" which has now become common place among New Zealand news readers. He took on the additional job of network trainer at TV3 in which over a four-year period he helped develop the talents of a number of presenters and reporters. After he was passed over for the week day 6pm news anchor slot, Neil left TV3 after more than nine years full time.
Neil began martial arts from a very young age achieving noteworthy status in a few different disciplines and wnet to the United States to train full-time and fight as a professional kick-boxer, after a 10-year fight career in New Zealand. Neil also trained with and became a corner man for World Heavyweight kick-boxing champion Ray Sefo, regularly travelling to Japan for K1 events.
Neil has also been a fight trainer and has trained alongside military combat specialists and law enforcement officers.
On his return to New Zealand after Hosting the Millennium celebrations at Okahu Bay, Auckland, Neil hosted the mid morning show of a radio station. Soon after he was offered the Television Breakfast news presenter role at TVNZ Breakfast with TVNZ.
Prior to beginning his contract with TVNZ Neil had started his own Communications company specialising in media training for corporate leaders and businesses. During this time he completed the Government's Directors course and was shortlisted as a Board Director for TVNZ.
Neil was soon offered the position of news anchor for TVNZ's One News Late Edition and after twelve months he took over as TVNZ One News 6pm weekday sports news presenter working alongside Judy Bailey, a position he held from the beginning of 2004 for the next four years. Soon after the departure of Bailey an opportunity came up for Neil to take over the main news reading role but the decision was made to continue to utilise Neil's sporting background and have him cover sporting events around the world.
Neil went on to present Breakfast and Midday news on TVNZ's ONE News along with an interview style news show on TVNZ-7. He then joined General Motors Holden as Corporate Affairs Manager.
Neil took on an additional role of lecturer at Auckland University's Broadcasting Degree and journalism diploma.
Neil has been involved with many charitable organisations including Variety Club, Books in Homes and Starship Children's Hospital. In his executive role at General Motors Holden he has helped to develop a relationship with Make a Wish.
He is married to Tanya and they have two daughters. He also has an older son.
Neil's career has included writing columns for the New Zealand Herald along with many newspapers and magazines.
- McNaughton, Maggie (27 October 2007). "4.30pm slot pulls in viewers". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- Francis, Clio (20 March 2009). "Taxis and booze cut as TVNZ wields axe". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- "To be or not to be in the K1 is the question!". Rogue Magazine. 4 September 2007. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- Thomson, Ainsley (14 January 2004). "Dallow off air, Hosking axed". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- Neil Waka at TVNZ