TV presenter heartbreakingly announces she is dying of terminal cancer live on air

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By James Kay

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A TV presenter in New Zealand told her viewers live on air that she is tragically dying of cancer.

Joanna Paul-Robie, widely recognized for her role as a newsreader on TV3, shared the devastating news in an interview with Radio New Zealand, stating she was “unfortunately dying.”

The esteemed broadcaster made the announcement while accepting the Icon Award for her contributions to the creative industries.

undefinedJoanna Paul-Robie sadly informed viewers that she has terminal cancer. Credit: Sandra Mu/Getty

“I was so touched because this award means so much to me, coming from (New Zealand city) Tauranga Moana,” Paul-Robie expressed.

“But more importantly, because I am, unfortunately, dying — I have terminal cancer — and really to have this award before one posthumously gets it is an even better break.”

While Paul-Robie did not specify her life expectancy, she conveyed the profound impact of the recognition: “I can’t tell you the lightness, the brightness, the feeling of aroha inside me last night.” Aroha is a Māori word meaning love.

Joanna Paul-Robie began her illustrious career at Radio New Zealand, later becoming a prominent newsreader for TV3 and serving as a programs and production manager at Māori Television.

Reflecting on her early days in the industry, Paul-Robie noted the challenges she faced as one of the few wāhine (female) Māori stars on New Zealand screens.

“The newsroom was really, it was being run by mostly, a pair of middle-class, middle-age white men who had the audacity and the balls to say ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ but these guys, you know, they had never been in a Māori world,” she explained.


She emphasized that her career has been a journey to blend her identity as a wāhine Māori with her professional role as a presenter.

In a 2011 interview with NZOnScreen, Paul-Robie reflected on her extensive career spanning over six decades, during which she covered numerous world-changing events.

“I’ve had this great career where I have worked in every part of television both onscreen and off-screen,” she said.

“To be onscreen during the Gulf War when big things happen both here and abroad and to be with a new television station there was no way we could go but up we couldn’t go down because we were already at the bottom.”

She also spoke about the immense challenge and pride in launching Māori Television.

"There’s been a handful of people in the world who have built a television station and taken it to air," she noted.

"There are only a handful of people in the world who can do that and even though it nearly broke me in half on the day that we launched I thought, ‘hell, we did that.’"

Reflecting on her achievements, Paul-Robie acknowledged the difficulty of stepping back. "I think it is difficult for someone like me with an A-type personality to think now you have done your big thing; maybe you should take it easy now."

Featured image credit: Sandra Mu/Getty

TV presenter heartbreakingly announces she is dying of terminal cancer live on air

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A TV presenter in New Zealand told her viewers live on air that she is tragically dying of cancer.

Joanna Paul-Robie, widely recognized for her role as a newsreader on TV3, shared the devastating news in an interview with Radio New Zealand, stating she was “unfortunately dying.”

The esteemed broadcaster made the announcement while accepting the Icon Award for her contributions to the creative industries.

undefinedJoanna Paul-Robie sadly informed viewers that she has terminal cancer. Credit: Sandra Mu/Getty

“I was so touched because this award means so much to me, coming from (New Zealand city) Tauranga Moana,” Paul-Robie expressed.

“But more importantly, because I am, unfortunately, dying — I have terminal cancer — and really to have this award before one posthumously gets it is an even better break.”

While Paul-Robie did not specify her life expectancy, she conveyed the profound impact of the recognition: “I can’t tell you the lightness, the brightness, the feeling of aroha inside me last night.” Aroha is a Māori word meaning love.

Joanna Paul-Robie began her illustrious career at Radio New Zealand, later becoming a prominent newsreader for TV3 and serving as a programs and production manager at Māori Television.

Reflecting on her early days in the industry, Paul-Robie noted the challenges she faced as one of the few wāhine (female) Māori stars on New Zealand screens.

“The newsroom was really, it was being run by mostly, a pair of middle-class, middle-age white men who had the audacity and the balls to say ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ but these guys, you know, they had never been in a Māori world,” she explained.


She emphasized that her career has been a journey to blend her identity as a wāhine Māori with her professional role as a presenter.

In a 2011 interview with NZOnScreen, Paul-Robie reflected on her extensive career spanning over six decades, during which she covered numerous world-changing events.

“I’ve had this great career where I have worked in every part of television both onscreen and off-screen,” she said.

“To be onscreen during the Gulf War when big things happen both here and abroad and to be with a new television station there was no way we could go but up we couldn’t go down because we were already at the bottom.”

She also spoke about the immense challenge and pride in launching Māori Television.

"There’s been a handful of people in the world who have built a television station and taken it to air," she noted.

"There are only a handful of people in the world who can do that and even though it nearly broke me in half on the day that we launched I thought, ‘hell, we did that.’"

Reflecting on her achievements, Paul-Robie acknowledged the difficulty of stepping back. "I think it is difficult for someone like me with an A-type personality to think now you have done your big thing; maybe you should take it easy now."

Featured image credit: Sandra Mu/Getty