28 Aug 2015

End of an era for Radio New Zealand's Kevin Ikin

1:24 pm on 28 August 2015

As Radio New Zealand's rural guru Kevin Ikin hangs up his headphones after 40 years on air, he reveals the secret to a long, fertile career, and mucking in - boots and all.

What do you remember about your first moment at Radio New Zealand (RNZ)?

Doing my first voice report after joining radio in Dunedin, in 1975. It was about a search and rescue operation involving an airforce Orion and I mispronounced the name of the aircraft.

What story are you most proud of?

No single story stands out, but talking to farmers during serious weather events is high on the list. On one occasion, I interviewed a farmer as he was evacuating his house during a flood. What came through was the resilience and capability of rural people.

What's the most difficult situation you got yourself into while working for RNZ? And, how did you get out of it?

Threats of legal action from time to time, but nothing that stood up to scrutiny.

Who was your most difficult interview?

Possibly Rob Muldoon. He carried such an aura of menace.

Which journalist do you most admire?

Our specialist RNZ reporters and our regional reporters are high on the list. There are some very fine rural journalists too, including Jon Morgan, Nigel Stirling and Andrea Fox, and Rod Oram for his perceptive writing on business and economics.

If you could have done something different with your life, what would it have been?

Maybe working in conservation, saving endangered species or restoring forests and wetlands. I'm a long time Forest and Birder.

If you were to have been a farmer, what would you have farmed?

Bees (nature's pollinators) or worms (nature's little cultivators).

What advice would you give to someone just about to begin their working life as a rural reporter?

Put on the boots and get out on the farm or orchard occasionally.

What do you think RNZ will look like in another 40 years time?

I don't know, but I hope it still has radio.

Kevin Ikin leaving the studio.

Kevin Ikin leaves RNZ's Wellington studio for the last time. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

What's first on your list for retired life?

To take a deep breath, drink some wine, play a tune, then go and whack some gorse.

What's your Twitter handle?


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