Ka Kite Ano Campbell Live

John-Campbell-1200Today will be tough. There will be laughter. There will be cake. Campbell Live is famous for cake. We are the only people in the world who lose weight on Christmas holidays. But behind it all, I don’t think everyone has quite confronted the reality that this is indeed the last programme we will make together as a team. Only last week the news was delivered that the show would not go on. Originally, the intention was for everything to tick along for another six-to-eight weeks while a replacement was readied. But it soon became evident that wasn’t going to work. The simple reason being these people, who I am privileged to call my colleagues, are totally incapable of making anything in a half-hearted fashion.

So to all of you who have watched over Campbell Live’s ten year span – but particularly in the last month of so – thank you. You have made a huge difference to us on these difficult days. Being under review was grueling. It meant we essentially became an independent republic within Mediaworks smack bang in the middle of prime time. Every morning the ratings would come out. To us nothing short of being number one was good enough and there we were, day-after-day. On these mornings, there would be a brief celebration, hugs all round and then the team would gather themselves again to once more try to ‘knock it out of the park.’ We beat X Factor one night by 100,000 viewers and came within two thousand of out-rating the series final, once the numbers watching on the +1 channel were taken into account. Dan Parker produced a spell binding story at the gates of Gloriavale on Anzac Day – shot by Billy Weepu – which attracted a huge audience of 419,000 viewers. Hundreds marched on TV3 to oppose us being shut down. It was surreal. TV- this medium, that’s supposed to be disposable – that many are often so cynical about could get people to do that. This great wave of love lapped up onto the steps of Flower St. We went out on that afternoon to dip our feet in it – and returned to work warmed by the knowledge it was there. None of us will forget that

To JC – you’re the best. The most complete broadcaster the country has produced; the best interviewer, the best storyteller, the best presenter, the best journalist on TV. No one knows that five minutes before the live show from the flooded Flockton Basin in Christchurch last year, he was in a cul-de-sac still negotiating the way to the location. Just moments to airtime the ear piece went in, the mic was picked up, before the most flawless half hour of television was delivered with no autocue, standing knee deep in water. That is the broadcaster’s art, to make it all look effortless so everyone else can cleanly and clearly articulate their message and for that message to be heard by those who need to hear it. Supreme technical skill aside, it is John Campbell’s values that are woven into the programme that the audience is saying they will miss most when the final Ka Kite Ano is delivered tonight.

There are two types of television. There’s the one that panders to the perceived prejudices of the audience. This is easy to make, instantly creating headlines and galvanizing an audience that will switch on just to hear its view of the world parroted back. The weakness of operating this way will only be obvious to those it leaves out in the cold. The much tougher path is to challenge viewers to question their assumptions and to challenge the powerful, after all isn’t that what the job of journalism is supposed to be about? So thank you, John, for early in your career committing to showing the country in all of its shades of grey, but still with great verve and optimism for the future.

One of the things everyone knows about JC is that he is unfailingly polite; polite sometimes to the point of parody. It might seem like something small, but it is actually the outward expression of something greater, and the message I will be taking from my short time working on the show: kindness has power. It’s not money, it’s not a clenched fist, it’s not an earthquake or a force of nature. But it has its own quiet influence, that if applied consistently day-upon-day can do great things. If we allow ourselves to see our fate as being connected to that of the person next to us we do not just make our community better, we make ourselves better. I acknowledge these are strange words to be writing about a TV star and a show made by a commercial broadcaster in a dog-eat-dog world. But to put it another way, compassion, intelligence and thoughtfulness is where the gap in the market is.

When put like that today feels more and more like the start of something, it really does….



  1. SARAH RUSSELL says:

    I will so miss this. As Ali says “”kindness has power. It’s not money, it’s not a clenched fist, it’s not an earthquake or a force of nature. But it has its own quiet influence, that if applied consistently day-upon-day can do great things.””
    Thank you Campbell Live Team.

  2. Linda Hopkins says:

    Great piece of writing and oh so true. We have watched Campbell Live for the whole 10 years of it’s life and we did that because it was a good honest show. This may be a blessing in disguise for John and maybe for the rest of the team. Hopefully you will all go on to bigger and better things – you all deserve it. Ka Kite Ano

  3. Pingback: RIP Campbell Live « The Standard

  4. The demise of Campbell Live leaves a huge gap: in our personal daily routine, in the community’s perspective on events and issues, and in professional journalism and in depth reporting. You have changed the way NZ views itself and responds collectively. You have indeed been a force for good, through the unfailing kindness Ali describes and through bringing a compassionate but still unflinching lens to bear on what’s right and what isn’t in our society. That will be sorely missed. Thanks for helping us all to be more informed and better citizens, separately and together.

  5. Thank you for summing up how so many of us feel about John Campbell and the team who – he’d be the first to acknowledge – made his job possible. I wish you all well and can only hope that there are places in this increasingly dumbed down, self-absorbed, unprincipled and unkind world for you all to carry on doing what you do so well.

  6. Peter Brittenden says:

    What a beautifully crafted piece Ali. Thirty years as a journalist left me cynical about the role the media plays in our every day affairs. For me the one shining light was Campbell Live…the one place where you could find journalism that dug deeper….not just once over lightly.

  7. shouldn’t have read that.
    Crying already.
    Thank you John from all the insignificant people like me.
    Thank you for trying to keep the honest
    Thank you for caring

  8. Simone Wadham says:

    Like so many other families who care about others, we’ve spent the past ten years enjoying how this show takes us around the country, putting focus where it is needed most.

    Wonderful to hear Ali’s insight into the man behind the name too – exactly as I’d imagined John Campbell would be.

    He will be missed and you all will be too. It’s a truly sad day and my usual lyrical genius has been stymied by emotion.

    No more marvellous…

  9. A water shed series in the history of New Zealand television. You won’t be forgotten. In a broadcasters 40 year career it seems being fired and rehired many times is standard fare. Maybe it’s that lack of tenure that sharpens the resolve. Go well all of you.

  10. How do you say goodbye to a team and a man that despite the fact they don’t know you, they’ve become a big part of your life over the last ten years?

    This isn’t fair, it isn’t nice, and the decision is disempowering – and poorly timed. Just when we need Campbell Live most, it has been unfairly torn away. There is nothing remotely similar to replace it. It will be a very long time before I watch TV3 again. Someone has to pay for this appalling decision – let it be TV3’s ratings.

    Great Piece – why can’t the rest of the world think like Campbell Live fans?

  11. Ka Kite Ano John Campbell and team. You are the best.

  12. Kim Houseman says:

    Thank you John, on behalf of everyone here in Christchurch i cannot find adequate words to express the gratitude we feel towards yourself and your team for not forgetting about us, this will be the last program we will watch on TV3.

  13. peter trevors says:

    John Campbell was to good for the so called rightiousness. God be with you in your future assignments

  14. Kate Hunt says:

    There will be a 30 minute black hole in my world every day from next Monday. I still find it hard to believe this is actually happening. Thank you all, for all you have done in the last 10 years, and especially thank you to John Campbell, for being the kind of broadcaster we most need — not just now, but always.

    Ka kite ano, indeed.

  15. Netscape ‘died’ and gave ‘birth’ to Firefox in the process. Keep up your good work through social media, JC and the team. Keep the stories coming, NZ …

  16. Beautiful words. I was talking with my 91 year old grandmother the other day and mentioned that the Cambell Live show was being axed due to lack of vewers. “But I watch it every night” was her reply. So thanks on behalf of my garndma and myself.

  17. Juanita Kil says:

    Thank you John Campbell and your awesome team for so many years of service. I thank you for keeping us informed, asking the hard questions and not giving up until we had answers and reminding us of the importance of caring for our fellow man. You will be missed. I am so sad that you won’t be there on my screen every week night at 7pm. Not sure that I can watch TV3 anymore.

  18. Marnie Reid says:

    Oh Dear, never thought I would cry at the ending of a TV programme,
    Campbell Live has been the beating heart of New Zealand for so long, showing us our fellow kiwis in their wonder , in their pain , in their fear and in their joy….
    You have mattered…..and I am so sad to lose you all…. but ever the optimist i have to believe your dear faces, or dulcet tones, won’t be missing for long…
    Best Wishes Marnie

  19. Thanks for everything John and the team, thanks for attempting to keep people honest by asking the hard questions, and for sticking up for the underdog. you are all bloody marvelous.
    Will miss you all.

  20. Michael Morrow says:

    Nicely put Ali.
    Thank you to the entire team at Campbell Live for all you have produced over the years.
    The quality and dedication of your journalists and indeed the entire production team has always been evident.
    To John, all the very best. I will miss your honesty, sincerity, openness, and as Ali mentioned, your out and out politeness and kindness, albeit mixed with that gritty determination to get to the truth.

    I’ll even slightly miss those moments where you leaned to the left dramatically, always politely of course!
    Sad day for NZ current affairs.

  21. Robin Tucker says:

    Great Blog Ali. So sad that to be losing this exceptional team from our current TV landscape and that you will all have lost a job that you love. I wish the entire team all the best and hope to see your passion, creativity, humour and sincerity on TV in NZ again sometime very very soon.

  22. Jill White says:

    Campbell Live has been a beacon of serious journalism standing out from its more tabloid-style competitors. Its demise is a very sad day for New Zealand.
    Thank you to the team for your dedication; for not being afraid to ask the hard questions and tell the hard stories; for not giving up on these stories when everyone else had moved on; for coming back time and again to see if anything had changed – and to ask, “Why not?” if it hadn’t.
    You have always seemed such genuine people – with a real sense of humour and fun when appropriate and I will miss that.
    I hope that there is a place for you somewhere in New Zealand media, because we need you to still be there.

  23. Val Monk says:

    Thank you Ali for articulating what I feel. Campbell live is a standout. And created by teamwork in an increasingly ruthless world. Ka kite ano to you all and we wish you all the best for the future.

  24. The loss of John Campbell and his team is almost palpable today. I feel as if I am in mourning and I am.
    Beyond the loss of these fine journalists/camerapeople etc (you know who I mean, the team who work with John) is the loss that Ali talks about, the kindness, the integrity, the things that most of us ‘feel’ when we watch the programme.
    Beyond that again is the loss of democracy. It is just one programme but it is so very, very much more and so few of us realise it it seems.
    If something good can come from this unbelievably wrong, in so many ways, decision, let it be that we ALL, all of us decent, ordinary Kiwis make ourselves AWARE of what is going on in this country today, the loss of our DEMOCRACY people! Let’s TAKE IT BACK! Change at the very TOP and at the next layer down. Be safe Campbell Live Team. Be happy, be proud, indeed. 🙂

  25. Always watch TV3 News + JC. I won’t be watching whatever lightweight nonsense that replaces Campbell Live.

    Best to all the team, you brought us some wonderfully uplifting stories over the years.

    Kia Kaha

  26. “…to challenge viewers to question their assumptions and to challenge the powerful, after all isn’t that what the job of journalism is supposed to be about?”

    Bingo. I keep hearing Campbell Live called “advocacy journalism”. Bullshit. John Pilger does advocacy journalism. Christopher Hitchens did advocacy journalism. Nicky Hager does advocacy journalism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the saying goes.

    Campbell Live just does journalism. It does it brilliantly. It does it with compassion. But it also does it with fairness and balance (Helen Clark, you’ll recall, was not Campbell’s biggest fan) and fearlessness.

    That used to be the least that we could expect from our journalism. Now, in an environment where speaking truth to power will almost certainly cost you your job, it’s an act of almost wreckless courage.

    But it still just journalism. In the very best traditions of the profession, and in a way that makes me and others proud to be counted as journalists. And it should forever remain the least we expect from our media; and failure to deliver it should always be cause to switch off, unsubscribe, turn away and teach the bosses the only lesson they’ll understand: that killing journalism – real journalism – will never be profitable for you, because we will never let it be.

  27. Sandra Shaw says:

    I have read all the above comments – there is nothing more to say apart from Thankyou from the bottom of my heart.
    Ka Kite Ano and a very good evening, and goodbye.

  28. Sharon F says:

    Endorse the sentiments, sadness and regret expressed by everyone else here. I will be watching tonight – grateful for the decade of dedication by this team and hopeful that theywill rise again to serve the interests and greater good of New Zealand

  29. Thank you John Campbell and the Campbell Live team. Will miss your show after 3News. Campbell Live has always been a must watch for me, it’s the most interesting show TV3 has.

    Good luck to all of you, hope another channel picks you up, they would be fools not to.

    This is a sad day. 🙁

  30. Best piece of writing I’ve read on the subject since the stupid announcement of the review was made. Started crying before I reached the middle! Honestly you have been a delightful team to watch. Time after time I would be left with a big smile on my face as the credits rolled, feeling so proud to be a kiwi. I have cried countless times throughout the years too, with stories of great sorrow and stories of incredible kindness! The genuine passion and care that John has for all people and for our country is such a wonderful attribute. I will miss Campbell Live very much. I’ve been living without TV for over a year now but would either live stream or watch later on demand. Never missed an episode and it was the only show I have kept up with. Thank you all so very much for the job you’ve done, it has been such a privilege to join you night after night. And what a pleasure it was to join with so many other viewers and raise money when truly deserving issues were raised by you. I’ll be live streaming tonight and I’ll have the tissues ready ha! Ka kite ano and a very good evening indeed! x

  31. Thank you for the helping hand given to those in need. I believe the success of your show is that it is delivered with honesty and sincerity .

    Best Wishes to you all.

  32. Maureen O'Connor says:

    Thank You Ali,
    You have put into words what I have been thinking, feeling and trying to say, Thank you John and all the Campbell Live Team, I will miss your humour, compassion and everything Ali wrote about you all, Don’t let them stop you, you got it right!!

    I will be waiting for you to come back bigger & better somewhere else just let us know where & when,
    Thanks seems so little to say but it all I can do, I raise my glass of wine to you all !!

  33. Nikki Frittmann says:

    OK, so I intended to be quite philosophical about the last Campbell Live show tonight. Sad, of course, but stiff-upper lip at the ready.

    But after reading this and the comments following, I’m a little teary-eyed. Ssshh, don’t tell anybody.

    Ali, you were my favourite among the Campbell Live reporters. The quirky stories you covered, your quiet voice, the way you looked at the roof, the walls, everywhere but at the person you were talking to – all these I shall remember. Not to mention the unforgettable item about the equally unique wee boy who discovered a kitten sleeping under his wonderfully-named hen, Mr. Puffleface. Brilliant.

    So long, Campbell Live, I shall miss you.

  34. Thank you, John and your team, for looking after us here in Christchurch after the Earthquakes and thank you for looking after so many people when they needed help. Thank you for pulicizing those sneaky attempts by the government to squander taxpayer money.
    It’s hard when one job ends but I’m certain you’ll be back. All the best for your future.

  35. 4 little words

    Tears to my eyes

  36. Judith Robinson says:

    Thank you for that very sincere message Ali. Thank you to the whole Campbell Live Team for your professionalism and compassion. May you rise again John C as also your colleagues to spread your message in new ways. Never give up. You are needed. Blessings of courage and strength to you all.

  37. Please don’t vanish John, the world needs people like you to keep it honest.

  38. Barbara Goodhew says:

    The family watched you for the last time tonight . We want to thank you for the enlightenment the world will be darker wjthout Campbell Live, Best wishes everyone go spread the truth elsewhere.

  39. Campbell live was the one programme I could watch at 7 after Holmes finally vanished and TV1 replaced him with the mentally retarded of the current 7-7.30 show. I’d started watching him earlier as well as he had real CONTENT. Going to miss him like an old mate who has moved away overseas. A bloody big thank you to the whole Campbell team and now I’m going to have a half hour extra reading time in the evening.

  40. Angela Herbert says:

    Ali, what a truthful and insightful piece you have written. I don’t think ANYONE could put it better. TV 3 have taken away a REAL programme at 7pm and will probably replace it with something vacuous and shallow.
    OH I FORGOT!!! ! They have done that already, at breakfast time!!
    To you AND John Campbell
    What ever you do next you will both be an amazing asset so good luck with the job hunting. I don’t think you will have to wait long!!

  41. Ali, well written piece and thank you for your reporting on the show along with the rest of the team there. While John is the main foal point it is the a massive team effort that makes the show excellent viewing. A pity we will be left with a void. Secretly hoping you all start a rebel tv station or something like that.

  42. Chris Meehan says:

    Ali, you have brought to my attention the fact that at no time when I have viewed Campbell Live, have I ever seen any reporter or report, demean or degrade a single person. There has always been a level of respect, no matter what the people involved were like. I think this was a real strength of the journalism.
    Thanks for your passionate reflection – in our household we will miss you all terribly and wish you even greater success and happiness for the future.

  43. With Thanks says:

    Thank you for your contribution. I never knew CL as well as I would have liked to, and I’m happy to have joined in the increased viewership. Watching tv is a bit of tricky time management when my day starts before dawn, and I arrive home after sunset.

  44. The loss of this programme is extremely sad. We have watched daily and you have opened our eyes and minds to many things. We loved the way you revisited stories to let us know what the outcome was. So very welcome in a time where two minutes of a story is all we hear, good and bad. Good luck to you all. Seven pm will be spent doing something else as nothing on TV at that time is worth watching! What a waste of such talent.

  45. Lorraine Lowe says:

    Thank you Ali – what a perfect tribute to a man who cared and who had manners and who epitomised those in his every report and to the wonderful team he worked within. I truly am at a loss to express what the whole team has meant to our family – Pike mine, Christchurch EQ, Novopay, Hungry children. We are part of all of these and you all covered them and brought them to the fore-front of people’s minds. You helped an immeasurable amount of people in countless ways – just knowing that Campbell Live had our backs was immense and comforting to our family and I know many other families felt the same way. Without you’ll, we have no voice, no power, no-one to raise the concerns of everyday people in New Zealand. You were a brave, solid and honest team whom we all respected and valued. Thank you all so much for all that you have done and for the fun that you have brought us too! 🙂 Hopefully, we will see you all again, working together in a different forum and just as powerful. Good luck all of you!

  46. Brig Iafeta says:

    Where can I buy a “Bring Back CAMPBELL LIVE” t-shirt?

  47. I have been watching Campbell Live over years. I have never ever liked anything else between 7 & 7.30pm. Not even Shortland Street. I liked it because it showed peoples’ stories in depth that we could never know in so much detail from any other news sources. So many stories that made people think and act. I don’t think any other programme in NZ covered so much about Christchurch earthquake, its aftermath and the effect on people, as Campbell Live did. Its TRUE & SOULFUL journalism, not POPULIST journalism. And thats why I liked watching it. My heart cries for John and the team who thought and told so real, though provoking stories. And, I truely believe it will be back soon on the television network. TV3 bosses have etched the channel’s demise in the 7-7.30pm slot. If I were a channel owner, I would have offered airing Campbell Live on my channel in exactly the 7-7.30pm slot.

  48. Carol Cudby says:

    Kia kaha John Campbell and the Campbell Live Team for giving us the best years in investigative current affairs, A dedicated team who went out of their way to be the voice
    and raise the concerns of everyday New Zealanders. This is a very sad day for NZ current affairs.

    We will ALL miss you!

    Ka kite anō and a VERY Good Evening Indeed……

  49. Mike Friend says:

    we are all the poorer for the demise of Campbell Live. Fair balanced investigative journalism is at the heart of a democracy and is the absolute duty of a properly functioning Fourth Estate. Those who have sought, and won in this instance, to silence an alternate narrative are dangerous people who must be fought and challenged at every opportunity.

  50. Quite simply: Thank-you. As an ex-pat Kiwi now residing in the U.S (and who gained a lot of media experience at a young age in New Zealand), Campbell Live was the only news media I watched on a regular basis. Your show had heart, guts, integrity -all of the qualities that make New Zealanders both unique and unified. I am sorry that the market economy, by way of ratings, has spelled the end for this delightful, daily snapshot of New Zealand life. Kia Kaha,

  51. Pingback: Rethinking the Fourth Estate and the media-public relationship | Cut Your Teeth

  52. Dear Ali, nothing exemplifies the values you have noted of Campbell Live than yourself. I miss you all I miss the reportage and urge you all to find a new contract new funding to continue your superb interviews laced with kindness and founded on respect. Arohanui Fi.

Leave a Reply to Sharon F Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *