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Hayley Holt’s healing summer holiday

With her sweet son Raven in tow, 1News sports reporter Hayley Holt's summer break will be very different.
Babiche Martens

Before Kiwi broadcasting star Hayley Holt became a mum, her summer holidays were all about relaxation. She’d spend long, languid days at the beach, hang out with friends and family, and make as few plans as possible.

This year, with toddler Raven in tow, the TVNZ sports reporter’s summer break will look a little different. Hayley and her fiancé Josh Tito’s adorable 17-month-old is a bundle of energy, ensuring

his parents are endlessly entertained – and very busy! But while she may have her hands full, Hayley wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re in that phase where we can’t take our eyes off him because he’s so into exploring and discovering things,” Hayley tells Woman’s Day at our photoshoot with Raven, who was born on his mum’s birthday, 3 July, last year.

“But he’s just such a delight. He’s super-cheeky and really funny. We love him so much.”

“He’s learnt the power of a tantrum” tells Hayley, but he was Prince Charming on our photoshoot!

And Hayley, 43, is excited about taking some time off work to spend with him and Josh, 33, over the Christmas and New Year period. While she usually celebrates the festive season with her parents Robin and Murray at the family farm in Warkworth, north of Auckland, this year, she and her little family are heading off on a road trip to see Josh’s whānau in Taupō.

“Mum’s devastated we won’t be there for Christmas, but I’m quite excited about doing something new and seeing all Josh’s family. I’ve got these fantasies that Raven is going to be running around with his cousins, so I’ll be able to sit back and relax. But let’s face it – I’ll still be chasing after him, making sure he doesn’t fall in the lake!”

Josh and Hayley are in no rush to get married. “We’re really happy as we are. It feels a little unnecessary at the moment.”

Josh, who is of Tūwharetoa descent, hails from Hatepe, and the family has booked out the local marae for a big 25 December celebration. There will be roast chicken and lamb served alongside

the wh¯anau’s famous “island salad” with pink mayonnaise, plus trifle for dessert. And as is tradition, one of the uncles will take on the role of Santa, cruising around on the back of a trailer to hand out lollies.

“The marae is called Te Ringatahi, which translates to one hand and suggests unity,” says Hayley. “It sounds pretty special – everyone in the village is welcome and people take a plate to share kai together.”

It’s going to be a summer of love as Hayley delights in all Raven’s hijinks!

Hayley has loved being embraced by Josh’s family, and feels fortunate that Raven will connect with his Māori culture and experience such a beautiful part of Aotearoa. While she’s always been a beach girl, she says the serene lakeside spot will be perfect for her little boy, who isn’t too keen on waves yet.

“He’s a bit funny about the sand too,” she says.

“He doesn’t like it when it gets between his fingers and toes. But I know he’ll love being at Hatepe. There’s a beautiful little beach area right on the lake and the Hinemaiaia River comes out there, which is lovely for swimming too. It’s a great place.”

Hayley isn’t going overboard on presents, mainly because Josh, a contractor in the construction industry, treats every day like Christmas!

“He loves buying stuff for Raven!” she laughs. “Recently we were at The Warehouse and he saw a kid’s Range Rover.

I said, ‘That could be good for Christmas,’ but no, Josh had to have it now. He just couldn’t wait – and Raven loves it! He puts the music on himself, starts bopping away and hangs his elbow out the side as he cruises around. It’s hilarious.”

Reflecting on the year that’s been, Hayley describes 2023 as “calm, content and beautiful”. It’s almost four years since she and Josh lost their first son, Frankie Tai, when Hayley was six months pregnant, and she is feeling stronger and happier than she has in a long time. Welcoming Raven helped heal her pain, she says, and she and Josh just love watching him grow and develop.

“Raven is so much fun now. It’s like he’s becoming a real little human. He’s got his personality, he’s got things that he likes and things he doesn’t like, and he’s learnt the power of a tantrum. Obviously he can’t communicate, so it’s a little bit difficult to try to understand what it is that he wants, but he definitely wants things strongly.”

Hayley says Raven’s a busy boy, but he’s thoughtful too. He loves pottering around outside, finding little rocks and interesting things.

“I’d say he’s quietly determined. He’s always wanting to go check something out, but he takes things in before rushing in. He’s an observer. He likes to just go out and check out our surroundings to make sure that everything’s OK.”

And Hayley, who happily admits she can be something of an overthinker, is relaxed about the fact her wee boy has taken to sleeping in his parents’ bed each night. It’s been many months since he spent the night in his own cot.

“We just decided to run with it because I actually like having him snuggling in with us,” she shares. “It feels comforting to sleep with those you love. The idea of putting him in his own little room by himself feels really scary now. I think he’d get a bit lonely in there.”

Hayley says Josh is a wonderful dad, and they take a team approach when it comes to juggling work and home. Raven goes to a local daycare three days a week and spends a day a week with his grandparents, while Hayley takes a day’s leave every second Friday to hang out with her boy.

She loves her work on 1News, though, and says she has no regrets about leaving Breakfast for the sport role two years ago.

“I’m really comfortable there and I love the team,” she tells. “Most importantly, I still enjoy telling stories and sport is always full of drama, so it’s great fun.”

While she and Josh have been engaged for more than a year now, the couple still haven’t made plans to tie the knot. They’ve considered lots of options, including marrying at a registry office, taking off to Rarotonga for a beach wedding or having a big bash at home on the Holt family farm.

“We talk about getting married all the time, but we always seem to land on doing nothing,” she confides. “And the truth is, we’re really happy as we are. Marriage feels a little bit unnecessary for us at the moment. I’m sure it will happen one day, but we’re not in a hurry.”

For now, Hayley is determined to enjoy the summer with Josh and Raven, soaking in every precious day with her whānau.

“This time of year is a good chance to think about all we have and acknowledge how lucky we are,” she enthuses. “I love my life so much and I’ll be forever grateful for my boys.”

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