No more ‘FOMO’ for Kanoa Lloyd, who returns to present The Project

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Getting back to work after a long summer break is always a bit difficult.

“I’m really excited to be back on The project,says host Kanoa Llyod, who is returning from six months parental leave after having baby girl Nikau Iris with husband Mikee Carpinter.

“But also quite nervous. Having six months off under any circumstances is pretty comprehensive. I was talking the other day to a friend who is a trader, and I completely forgot the word for apprentice.

Newshub presenter Laura Tupou revealed she was pregnant, a day before she began coverage of Kanoa Lloyd's maternity leave on The Project.  Tupou's stint as the main presenter of the current affairs show The Project began when Lloyd finished before the birth of her first baby.

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Newshub presenter Laura Tupou revealed she was pregnant, a day before she began coverage of Kanoa Lloyd’s maternity leave on The Project. Tupou’s stint as the main presenter of the current affairs show The Project began when Lloyd finished before the birth of her first baby.

“It’s stressful in any job, but when your job is to talk to people about what’s going on in the world…I really hope my brain kicks in.”

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Every new parent has to go through this, she says, “but I’m going to miss my little baby so much!”

The 6-month-old is his “dream girl”.

“She might think she’s quietly famous. She sees the world as everyone is her friend, and everyone is really into her, and I hope that never changes.

“I really enjoyed that moment, but I also had the experience of watching The project while I was gone, and I definitely had some FOMO.

She remembers watching her colleagues interview people she wanted to talk to, but the time apart made her all the more grateful.

“I looked at my friends and the work they do, and I was like, ‘God, it’s cool that I can go back to this’.”

Behind the scenes of The Project: Jeremy Corbett, Jesse Mulligan Kanoa Lloyd and TV actress Antonia Prebble.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

Behind the scenes of The Project: Jeremy Corbett, Jesse Mulligan Kanoa Lloyd and TV actress Antonia Prebble.

As long as there is a pandemic, there will be headlines starting with “Covid-19”, no matter how tired we are of it.

“Covid-19 is a hideous story, but it’s a human story,” says Lloyd.

“There are billions of people living through this pandemic – and there are important and uplifting stories to tell in this context.”

She was actively encouraging Maori to increase their vax rates through its social media platforms. Objectivity is a hallmark of the 6 p.m. news, but “the cool thing” about Lloyd’s gig is that “we don’t have to turn off our humanity and our personalities.

“In fact, it’s a really important part of the work we do.

“I’m really proud and relieved to see that vax statistics, for Maori in particular, have improved tremendously.”

Lawrence Smith / Stuff

“I’m really proud and relieved to see that vax statistics, for Maori in particular, have improved dramatically,” says Kanoa Lloyd.

Coincidentally, an airline publicity trip to Chicago in 2019 led Lloyd to a marae at a museum, which guided her to her whenua and turangawaewae in Tokomaru Bay.

Since then, she has strengthened her bond with te ao Māori and her confidence in her place within it. Now, having had her first child, she says her connection to it runs through her daughter.

“It’s really cool to be able to share reo picture books and posters with her, and we get Anika Moa talked about a lot on our summer trips singing tahi rua toru wha.

“What’s really cherished is that my husband Pākehā doesn’t speak Maori, but I watch him get more and more invested.

“He takes the fact that he has a Maori daughter very seriously, so we all learn and experience these things together as a family.”

Ideally, she would like to return to Tairāwhiti on the east coast soon, but she is aware of the low number of vaccines in the area and the vulnerability the locals present.

“I take it very seriously that people there are asking mostly Aucklanders not to go, and I look forward to being able to take my baby girl home whenua, safely and happily when I I could.”

She is currently parked on St Clair Beach in Dunedin, where she visited her mother, watching surfers through the car windscreen. The temperature is a balmy 11 degrees, but its outlook remains sunny.

“I like being able to cover up and take a long walk on the beach.”

Other than that, Lloyd’s summer vacation consisted of swimming in the ocean as much as possible, playing Wordle every day, and making the most of outings with friends.

Motherhood has also given the presenter a new appreciation for retail and hospitality spaces, she says, which are ‘lovely little rituals of newborn life’.

Pushing a pram through the shops is sometimes necessary, just for the sake of seeing other adults and for nice strangers to smile at your baby – “and to look at things that aren’t in your own goddamn house!”

“We are already quite isolated in the 21st century. I think of sitting in a restaurant and hearing the buzz of families sitting in a restaurant and hearing the buzz of families celebrating a birthday. I was listening to a couple at retirement age, and I think they were on a first or second date.

“There is such joy in watching people. It’s impossible to get locked out.

Lawrence Smith / Stuff

“I can’t wait to be Kanoa again, as well as ‘Nikau’s mom’. It’s a great job, but I’m excited to show her that mom goes to work and mom loves work, ”says Lloyd .

“I can’t wait to be Kanoa again, as well as ‘Nikau’s mom’. It’s a great job, but I’m excited to show her that mom goes to work and mom loves work.

“I worked very hard to get here in my career. I’m thrilled to reawaken that part of me again, and I really hope my vocabulary follows suit as well.

Kanoa Lloyd returns to host The Project on Three starting Monday, January 24.

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