An interview with...

"Fireside” chats with some of NZ’s best-known names

Each month our good friend and ambassador Jude Dobson sits down with a well-known guest to chat to them about their lives, family, careers, and experiences.

These sessions are a fantastic opportunity to get new insights into some of your favourite household names, so grab a cuppa and watch the recordings of our previous Summerset Interviews below.

Hilary Barry

One of the most recognisable faces on New Zealand TV, Hilary Barry currently hosts the prime-time TVNZ show, Seven Sharp. She is both funny and personable, and is able to share stories and experiences from her career that will entertain any audience.

Jude Dobson interviews Hilary from our village in Ellerslie, Auckland.

Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer is an iconic athlete, social advocate, author, and Emmy award-winning television commentator. In 1967 Kathrine became the first woman to officially register and run the Boston Marathon. When the race director tried to remove her during the race because she was a woman, there was worldwide uproar — it was truly a history making moment.

This episode is hosted by Pinky Agnew.

Sir Ian Taylor

In this episode, filmed in front of a live audience at Summerset on Cavendish, Sir Ian Taylor tells us about his life and all its twists and turns. From labouring in the freezing works, to being a singer in a rock band, serving in the army, completing a law degree and starting a career in television.

In 1989 he founded the television production company, Taylormade Media, followed by Animation Research Limited (ARL), covering major sporting events all over the world. In 2021, Ian was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, recognised for his services to broadcasting, business and the community.

Liam Malone

In this interview we meet record-breaking paralympian and comic, Liam Malone.

Liam is widely known as the world's number one blade runner, and he's New Zealand's second fastest 400m sprinter ever — legs or not! His story of hitting rock bottom while at university, to turning it all around to achieve paralympic success, to leaving that all behind for a career in technology and now comedy, is nothing short of incredible.

Suzanne Paul

Inspirational speaker, Suzanne Paul shares her life stories including her experiences building one of New Zealand’s most successful marketing companies and becoming a much-loved TV personality.

This episode is filmed in front of a live audience at Summerset Richmond Ranges.

Dame Miranda Harcourt

Dame Miranda Harcourt has appeared in a number of stage, film and television productions, and has held the position as head of acting at New Zealand drama school Toi Whakaari — passing on her knowledge to a new generation of aspiring actors. She's also a woman with a social and political conscience; teaching drama in prisons, psychiatric institutions, schools, and with the deaf and disabled. Watch as Miranda tells us all about her life, career, love of acting & teaching and some of the interesting people she has met along the way.

Willy de Wit

Willy de Wit shares his inspiring and hilariously funny journey. Pioneering NZ’s stand-up comedy scene in the 80s, Willy has had an impressive career on both TV and radio. He's worked with giants like Billy T James, and McPhail & Gadsby, and was part of the hugely successful group Funny Business. In 2016 Willy suffered a life-threatening stroke which still impacts him to this day.

This interview is facilitated by David Downs, The New Zealand Story CEO, who chats to Willy about all things comedy, life & career.

Kerre Woodham

Kerre began her TV career on Fair Go, and in the last 35 years has become a regular on our screens, appearing on Heartland, Ready Steady Cook and Dancing with the Stars. She currently hosts the Newstalk ZB morning show and is a NZ Woman's Weekly columnist.

Watch as Jude Dobson chats to Kerre about her exciting life and career, recorded in front of a live audience at our Hobsonville village, Summerset at Monterey Park.

Tony Murrell

As one of New Zealand's top landscape designers, Tony Murrell has been helping kiwis create beautiful gardens for over 20 years.

You may recognise him from TV3's Ground Force and Garden Wars, or TV1's Home & Garden NZ and Kiwi Living. He is also a radio host, owns a landscaping business and has travelled the world not only designing gardens, but training as a professional chef.

Kate Targett-Adams

Scottish-born, Queenstown resident, Kate Targett-Adams has carved out a niche as a modern-day travelling minstrel.

Her captivating performance has seen her travel the world from Edinburgh Castle to Beijing's forbidden city, and in front of the likes of the British Royal family and Sir Sean Connery. Jude Dobson chats to Kate about how the harp has become her international passport to success, her travels and the people she's met along the way.

Saroo Brierley

At the age of five, Saroo was accidentally separated from his family in India. When authorities couldn't locate his parents, he was placed for adoption and became part of the Brierley family in Hobart, Australia.

His book "A Long Way Home" tells the story of how 25 years and a lot of determination later, he finally tracked down his biological mother. It has since become a feature-length film "Lion", starring Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel.

Peter Hillary

Every bit as adventurous as his famous father, Sir Edmund Hillary, Peter has scaled Everest, completed the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the seven continents) and trekked across Antarctica to the South Pole.

Peter is also a philanthropist and writer; he is on the board of many of the Himalayan Foundations and has written six books. Peter shares the incredible story of his life, adventures and his family.

Abbas Nazari

Abbas Nazari is a former Afghan refugee who, as a child, fled the Taliban with his family in 2001. He was one of 400 asylum seekers who were rescued by the MV Tampa container ship and held offshore for weeks after being denied refuge in Australia. Happily Abbas and his family were resettled in NZ, where they've made a home and thrived.

Although a story tinted with sadness and impossible choices, Abbas tells it in a way that's humbling, heart-warming and surprisingly funny — an interview that will leave you feeling inspired.

Tim Cope

Tim Cope is a celebrated Australian adventurer and author, best known for his ambitious odyssey riding horses on the trail of Genghis Khan — 10,000km from Mongolia to Hungary across the great Eurasian Steppe. The three-year journey saw him challenged by social unrest, freezing and scorching temperatures, and encounters with wolves and thieves. Tim shares the story of his life-changing adventure and tells us all about the wonderful places and people from along the way.

Mark Inglis

In 1982, NZ was gripped by the story of two Search & Rescue Mountaineers trapped on Mt. Cook in a storm. The nearly 14 days in an ice cave almost saw Mark Inglis and Philip Doole lose their lives.

Unfortunately Mark did lose both his legs to frostbite, but this did nothing to curb his drive to succeed or his adventurous spirit. His list of achievements are many, among them being the first double amputee to conquer Mt. Everest. Hear Mark talk about that infamous stay at "Middle Peak Hotel", and his career as a winemaker, Paralympian, mountaineer, author and charitable trustee.

David Lomas

David Lomas is the well-known face of popular family reunion programme Lost & Found, and more recently the documentary series David Lomas Investigates.

In the last 14 years, David has reunited more than 300 lost family members on camera and hundreds more off camera. After an impressive career spanning five decades as an investigative reporter, he has amassed a vast collection of interesting stories.

Dame Valerie Adams

Dame Valerie Adams is a household name throughout New Zealand. With more World, Olympic and Commonwealth Games titles than you can count, her athletic career spanning two decades has seen her become of NZ’s favourite and most successful sporting stars.

Jude Dobson chats to Valerie about where it all started, her family, career and what’s on the cards now that she has retired from professional sport.

Dr. Richard Harris

In this episode we were joined by Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris who recounted his part in the heroic search and rescue mission to deliver the Thai schoolboys trapped in the Tham Laung cave to safety in 2018. His expertise as a cave diver and anaesthetist were pivotal in the success of the rescue. Three lucky viewers also received a copy of his book Against All Odds.

Sir Graham Henry

We kicked off the series with rugby coaching legend Sir Graham Henry, who chatted about his successful career, life after hanging up his boots, and he spilled the beans on that 2011 World Cup final! Three lucky viewers also received a signed copy of Sir Graham’s book Final Word.