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Irena Smith (Political Reporter, Wellington)

Published: 2:45PM Monday June 28, 2004

Ko Hikurangi te Maunga
Ko Waiapu te Awa
Ko Te Whanau a Ruataupare te Hapu
Ko Ngati Porou me Ngati Kahungunu Nga Iwi

Ehara taku toa I te toa tahitahi engari he toa takitini - My strength does not come from me alone but from the multitudes who support me.

Irena Smith hails from the East Coast in Tokomaru Bay, and has known from early on that she wanted to work in Maori media, specifically for Te Karere. 

In her final year at Lytton High School in Gisborne she made a trip to Auckland to see Whai Ngata, then Head of Maori programmes at TVNZ.  When she told him of her ambitions, he suggested that she study a Diploma of Journalism from Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua, which is exactly what she did.

For the work experience component of her diploma, Irena made another call to Whai, who took her on with Te Karere, and six months after she finished her Diploma she was given a job with the programme in 2003.  After moving to Maori Television for a four-and-a-half year stint in 2005, Irena came home to Te Karere  in 2010.

In her almost 10 years in the industry, Irena lists her career highlights as covering the Rugby World Cup at home in 2011, the Touch World Cup in South Africa in 2007, and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.  This year, she is looking forward to adding the 2012 Games in London to those highlights.  Outside of work, Irena lists her interests as Kapa Haka, and public speaking with youth.

Olympics 2012 Questionnaire

Most under-rated athlete is&
One of our Maori athletes, Karen Hanlen the mountain biker from Whakatane. She has come out of nowhere!  She's only been riding competitively for a year, she's a mum of two with a full-time job, but she's very committed and has her whole whanau behind her, so I hope she does well. 

Sport that should be incorporated into the Olympics next is&
Rugby!  Can't wait to see the sevens in Rio, I think it will give the Olympics a bit of flavour.

If I could win a gold medal for one sport, I'd want it to be&
Swimming. I think it's a tough sport and it's so fast, you practise for hours and hours for a 20 second race.

I can't believe some athletes dedicate their lives to training for& 
A race that will last 20 seconds, like 50 metres swim or sprint.

The 2024 Olympics should be held in&
New Zealand, because we punch above our weight, and if we can do the Rugby World Cup why not the Olympics?