Celebrity News

Melissa Davies reveals why she’s putting family first

The Newshub presenter is relishing a change of pace after her recent upheaval.

After five years of living in London, Newshub presenter Melissa Davies isn’t taking the simple things for granted.

Back home after a long tenure as MediaWorks’ Europe correspondent, the bubbly beauty is getting used to Kiwi life and says she didn’t realise how much she missed home.

“It’s so great to see water that’s blue!” she laughs, as she walks along an east Auckland beach. “I’m loving being home – I was definitely ready. And, of course, to come home to such an amazing job is really great.”

Melissa (32) gave up her correspondent’s gig and life in London – where she covered stories such as Nelson Mandela’s funeral, the Olympics and the revolution in Cairo – to be part of MediaWorks’ Newshub, presenting the weekend bulletins alongside Tom McCrae.

“It’s definitely been a huge change!” she says. “I love London – I always will – but I’m amazed at how Auckland’s changed and how much is going on.”

The move into presenting has been an organic one, she adds.

“I certainly didn’t set out to be a presenter, but I’ve always wanted to be a journalist. When I was packing to go to London, I actually found this little letter I’d written to myself saying that I wanted to do journalism, so that was really cool.”

Wedding belles: Melissa with (from left): Sheridan, bride Annaliese and Danielle.

As the eldest of four girls, Melissa would test her grammar and writing skills on her sisters as they were growing up.

“There’s this joke in the family that I used to say that I was ‘educational and fun in one’,” she recalls. “So I made up this game where I’d get my sisters to stand against the wall and I had a bucket of water bombs. I’d test them on their spelling and if they didn’t get it right, I’d throw the water bombs at them.

“But,” she adds hastily, “they had the chance to dodge them, so it wasn’t bullying! It was great, it was almost like they were my little students.”

Being closer to her family was a big part of her decision to come home, Melissa tells.

“It’s the first time we’ve all been in the same country for five years,” she explains. “We’re all really close. Four girls – my poor stepdad! You’re lucky they’re not here, actually, I wouldn’t be able to get a word in edgeways.”

Her three siblings – Sheridan, Annaliese and Danielle – are her half-sisters from her mother’s second marriage.

“As you can see, they don’t look the same as me!” Melissa laughs, pointing to a photo.

“I sometimes forget that, when people look at us and say, ‘You can’t be sisters!’ But we behave like full-blooded sisters – we always have.”

While her sisters would worry about her, given the war- torn places she’d regularly find herself when reporting on world events, Melissa laughs that her mum Catharina never seemed too bothered.

“They’re all glad I’m home, but I don’t think Mum was ever totally worried. I’d like to think it’s because she thinks I’ll be fine in any situation. I was in Paris after the shootings last November and fireworks went off in the background during my live cross. We had to pack down our equipment straight away, so I texted Mum and said I was okay, because I didn’t want her to think I was in danger. But she just texted back to say, ‘I’m sure you’re fine. Look after yourself!’”

As for the new job, Melissa says it’s working out wonderfully – and she’s been taking tips from the experts.

“I’m always around at Mike [McRoberts] and Hilary’s [Barry] desks – they’re so lovely and helpful,” she says. “I was a little nervous before my first bulletin. I’ve done live crosses for a while, so it wasn’t unlike that. But I think I put a lot of pressure on myself – and you know that everyone’s looking at you! It was definitely a tough one to watch back.”

However, the move has allowed Melissa a bit of work-life balance – after five years of being permanently on-call, she’s relishing having time to spend with friends and family.

“It’s quite weird now, though. I left when I was 27, and now I’m 32 and my friends have kids and things – I’m Aunty Melissa now! All of a sudden, it’s Trivial Pursuit and dinner parties.

“I definitely feel a bit more settled – but it’s not knitting and babies for me just yet!”

Related stories

Get NZ Woman’s Weekly home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 29% on a magazine subscription.