22 Dec 2015

Last day on air for RNZ's Hewitt Humphrey

4:28 pm on 22 December 2015

RNZ newsreader Hewitt Humphrey will present his last-ever news bulletin today.

Hewitt Humphrey

Hewitt Humphrey Photo: RNZ

Humphrey is retiring after more than half a century in the broadcasting industry.

He read the first news bulletin on Morning Report when the programme started 40 years ago.

His bulletins have covered world-changing events, from the Vietnam War to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

They have also been interrupted by the unexpected but Humphrey almost always kept his cool.

When a cleaner began hoovering the radio studio part-way through a sports bulletin, Humphrey continued to read but later told listeners: "Sorry about the noise during the sports news, the studio was suddenly attacked by a vacuum cleaner."

Comedian Spike Milligan, however, managed to rattle Humphrey. Sitting in the studio during a news bulletin, Milligan cried in a faux-distressed voice "Let me out"! Humphrey initially continued reading but then couldn't help himself and laughed.

In his 51 years as a broadcaster, Humphrey said his last role - as RNZ's presentations standards manager - was his favourite.

"I get to meet a lot of the new young reporters who come in from the tertiary institutions and I have to say they are very talented young people, a lot of them. And I'm quite impressed with the standard of speech," he said.

He will read his last bulletin at 6pm and last headlines at 6.30pm today.

Ngā Taonga kōrero

* Archival audio supplied by Nga Taonga Sound & Vision