Tumehe Rongonui beat out the eight other finalists to win the 'Fill Tamati's Boots' competition, voted for by a panel of the most experienced judges in the country - the What Now viewers!
Tumehe was beyond excited when the What Now crew burst into his house to give him the good news, they arrived one evening with a huge commotion of marching girls and glitter-cannons, and before he knew it he'd landed his dream job. "I was so nervous my eye-balls were numb, and my heart was about to fail from overfilling with butterflies," he says.
Tumehe grew up in Taranaki, a place he still loves dearly. His first presenting role was on a local radio station Te Korimako, where he enjoyed making prank calls to the locals. After relocating to Christchurch, he began manning the phones for What Now, and then got his first full-time TV job for Te Aratai productions doing a bit of everything, including camera operating, editing and even lighting.
In 2005 the youth show Haa on Maori Television came calling, where he had an on-air reporting role which taught him the ropes of TV presenting.
Presenting What Now has always been a secret ambition. Tumehe remembers watching the show once and telling his mum it was the job for him. "It was my favourite programme, apart from X-men, and I remember seeing Anthony Samuels doing crazy fun things like skipping on his bum, getting gunged and laughing his head off. I just thought, 'that is me! That is exactly what I should be doing!' Mum totally agreed and from then on it has been a shady, undercover mission of mine. No one really knew about this, but look I've done it - yay!!"
Tumehe loves the other presenters and thinks they give a lot to the tamariki of Aotearoa. He says, "Tamati was fun, Richie is naughty, Charlie is a good bloke with a warmth that will melt the North Pole, and Serena is just the sweetest, most caring presenter I know."
"I wanted the job because throughout my life people would always say 'what's in the water? Where do you get your energy? When are you gonna grow up?' I know I was meant to do this, I can put so much into it for the young ones and I know they will love it."
Now Tumehe's crazy energy will be making its way round the
country every Sunday morning with the Spyrider crew, visiting
communities, causing a commotion and getting as many kids involved
as he can. So look out - he may be making his way toward your town