It all started with a publisher wanting a book about truth.
In the book - and the TV documentary it spawned - I Know This to be True, journalist Ric Salizzo interviews a range of New Zealanders about how they got to where they are, and the truths they learned along the way.
Ric is probably best known for producing the long-running TV series Sports Café and the cult favourite The Crowd Goes Wild.
He says he had been kicking around the idea of a book that inspired people in conversations with his friend John Kirwan.
“I went to see [publisher] Geoff Blackwell and he said, ‘a book’s a great idea, but I really want to do one about truth’ - because he had already done one about wisdom.”
And the project started from that point.
Ric says he wanted to talk to New Zealanders who had achieved something substantial, and not only celebrities.
“I was frustrated in some ways, we’re almost losing parts of our culture, humility and honesty; the Americanisation of our culture.”
“I wanted to do something that went back to the values of when Colin Meads scored a try he didn’t do a backflip, he just turned around and went ‘That’s my job’, and ran back.”
The 60 interviewees have much in common, Ric says.
“Everyone that’s done something amazing hasn’t done it by accident. The number of people who said the value their parents showed them was work ethic.
“Most of them had parents who really believed in them, but right through what they’ve all done, they all had the most massive attacks of self-doubt.”
I Know This To Be True is available on TVNZ OnDemand. The book will be available in stores from 3 October.