Hadyn’s Heroes! Hadyn Jones celebrates 10 years of Good Sorts

Haydn has been humbled by the good sorts he has had the privilege of interviewing.

It’s a good thing One News journalist Hadyn Jones lost out on the coveted European correspondent role in 2009.

If he had landed it, we might not have been treated to the heartwarming tales of caring Kiwis every Sunday on Good Sorts for the last decade.

As it happened, his bosses at TVNZ softened the blow at the time by sending Hadyn to Atlanta to observe the workings of American news network CNN. It was there that he first saw their monthly segment, Heroes, which celebrated incredible people saving lives.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing. It’s celebrating the great stuff people do,'” says Hadyn.

“On the plane home, I wondered if we could Kiwify the segment and make it about everyday people who do nice stuff because it’s the little stuff that keeps our society going. Without it, we couldn’t really operate at all.”

Hadyn is set to catch up with foster mum Jo, who was given a new van after appearing on Good Sorts.

To his astonishment, the head of news agreed straight away.

“He didn’t ask how much it would cost or when we would run it. He just said, ‘Yes.’ That never happens,” Hadyn recalls.

“Then we spent a week arguing about what we were going to call it. We decided to ditch the hero thing altogether and just call it Good Sorts. That was his idea and it stuck.”

And now, 500 interviews with kind-hearted Kiwis later, Hadyn is celebrating 10 years of Good Sorts. In a show on Easter Sunday to celebrate, Hadyn went back to some of the people “who have really stuck with me over the years” to find out what they were doing now.

One of those good sorts was Jo Brady, who first appeared on the show 18 months ago. The Waimate mum takes in large numbers of foster kids as she can’t bear to see families separated.

“She couldn’t fit them in one car, so they had to walk to school, which in Waimate in winter is not a great experience,” tells Hadyn.

“A viewer watched the show, rang up the next day and gave them a new van. Then another couple called and said they’d like to buy the family a house, and they did. It blows me away!”

The journalist readily admits that the segment has changed his life.

Good Sorts helps me put life in perspective. They’re all so immensely happy doing what they do – and they’re in all different circumstances – because they’re not focused on themselves. They’re focused on helping other people.”

His kids − Marley (9), Archer (7) and Perry (5) – have some input in the show too as Hadyn edits Good Sorts in his Taranaki home studio.

“They know how to push start and stop on the editing soft-ware,” says Hadyn fondly.

“And my daughter has helped me film a piece to camera out the front of my house. She gets on a stool and frames me up, with varying degrees of success.”

As if his Taranaki co-workers weren’t cute enough, his latest recruit is Florence, a three-month-old golden retriever.

“She helps out where she can,” Hadyn says happily. “At 43, I’ve got my first dog.”

The latest addition to the Jones clan is Florence, a three-month-old golden retriever.

He concedes that his kids probably have a slightly unusual take on the news.

“They don’t see a lot of what’s on at six o’clock as that’s a terrible time for families – you’re trying to get everyone fed, in the bath and into bed. So they just think the news is all Good Sorts – pretty happy. What a great way to live! I’ll be trying to suspend that belief for as long as possible.”

Hadyn says the segment has opened a lot of doors for him. He regularly catches up with his interviewees and has even become an ambassador for the Starlit Hope charity, founded by the late Gabby Devine.

Hadyn interviewed her before she died of cancer aged 12.

“Because she was in hospital a lot, she knew how boring it was. So she started making boredom boxes for other patients while she was there. She turned it into a charity before she died and it sends boredom boxes all around the country to children’s wards. It’s a privilege and an honour to be an ambassador for her charity.”

Marley (far left), Perry and Archer regularly help their dad in his home studio.

In more good news for Hadyn, there’s no danger of running out of awesome Kiwis to appear on the Sunday night slot.

“I’ve probably got 2000 nominations in my inbox. They flood in at all times of the day and night − they’re everywhere!”

Hadyn concedes that they’re a wonderful contrast to the crooks and scam artists he deals with in his other role on iconic TVNZ 1 show Fair Go.

“I always joke with people that you want to be on TV with me on a Sunday night, not a Monday night because Monday means you’ve either been ripped off or you’re ripping someone off!”

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