Celebrity News

Ali Pugh’s emergency delivery

She and her daughter urgently needed some helping hands when the TVNZ reporter returned to television screens.

It’s the time of year when, with a bit of breathing space, you might sit down and start mapping out your New Year’s resolutions. 1 News reporter Alison Pugh has just one elusive goal in mind: a slightly less tumultuous year than the few that have preceded it.

As far as milestones go, Pugh has clocked up quite a few in the past two years: engagement to her musician partner Jo Barus, first baby, first home, experiencing her first disaster zone and her first breast-feeding disaster simultaneously.

She’s also returned to both her hometown of Christchurch and her first love: reporting. And both those worlds collided in the immediate aftermath of November’s Kaikoura earthquake.

Jolted awake by the 7.8 magnitude quake, Pugh bundled Thea off to her mum’s at 2am and headed to the epicentre with her team. When they arrived, the damage was worse than they thought – Kaikoura was cut off and there was no food, no water.

Pugh says her body went into some sort of survival mode and started producing masses of breast milk. With Thea back in Christchurch, there was nowhere for it to go.

“It was really uncomfortable,” she says. “I was expressing and filling up these bottles, and I had no idea what to do! I knew my baby was at home, and that I couldn’t get back there, and she was going to have a hard night without it. So I asked one of the emergency rescue helicopter pilots if they were flying back to Christchurch.”

By now it was 11pm, and Pugh had been working for almost 24 hours straight.

She said the pilots were very understanding – “I thought they’d laugh at me, but they took it so seriously, like they had this special parcel” – and took the milk back to Christchurch, where her mum was waiting at the airport.

Every third or fourth sentence of this anecdote is punctuated with a huge laugh. It’s a reminder of that easygoing personality that saw her rise through the ranks of TVNZ so early in her career.

“It was quite full on,” she deadpans.

Natural disasters aside, Pugh says the past couple of years have been more relaxed than the previous ones, a change of pace she credits to moving back to her hometown.

She says she’s really enjoyed being away from the kind of scrutiny that comes with “having your face on the TV every day”.

For the full story, see the latest issue of NEXT, which is on sale with with two different covers, featuring Ali and Victoria Beckham

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