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Career

Fair Go's Pippa Wetzell shares why she's loving her forties and how she's enjoying her children's growing independence

Balancing motherhood with her consumer crusader role on Fair Go has had its challenges for Pippa Wetzell, but there have been some welcome changes in recent years.

By Karyn Henger
Stunning Fair Go presenter Pippa Wetzell spends her work days keeping the crooks, swindlers and fraudsters of the country on their toes.
But at home, she admits, it's her three energetic youngsters who are making sure she stays on hers.
Now that they are becoming more grown up, her children Brodie, 13, Cami, almost 11, and nine-year-old Taj are the ultimate incentive to stay fit.
"I'm very fortunate to have healthy, active kids," says Pippa.
"But as they grow older, you realise you need to look after your own health in order to keep up with them and be a good role model too!"
In February 2019, Pippa hiked the Hump Ridge track in Fiordland with a group of friends and enjoyed it so much she is gearing up for another challenge.
"It wasn't an easy tramp, so we made sure we trained for it. I just loved it, so this year I'm going down to the Queen Charlotte track with some friends."
The down-to-earth star is eager to point out that she's "no poster girl for health and fitness" but shares that she's "just making sure that I'm in a reasonable condition to handle that and enjoy it".
That means Pippa is doing a weekly class using a TRX (a form of suspension training that uses body weight exercises to develop strength) and a kettlebell weight class.
"We have a lovely instructor who's really positive and understands what level we're all at – which is not a particularly high level," she giggles.
"I've always been quite naturally strong," she adds, "but as you get a wee bit older you realise you start losing a little bit of that.
"I think you have it in your twenties, then when you have young children you're so busy lifting them and things like that, that you just kind of maintain it through those years. Then, all of a sudden, you realise you're not doing any heavy lifting any more and you need to find a way of maintaining that strength."
Pippa's goal this year is to make time to get along to more classes. "I managed it on and off last year but I'd like to be more consistent with that this year, to make sure I'm strong and healthy," she says.
Work ended "on a high note" at the end of 2019, with Pippa and the Fair Go team celebrating "some huge successes".
"We've got an awesome team and everyone was really keen to follow up on what we'd done so we're all feeling invigorated and looking forward to another good year in 2020," she says.
And the family had a fabulous summer at the beach, having spent hours upon hours together in the water surfing and wakeboarding. Pippa, husband Torrin Crowther and the three kids even enjoyed a rare week together with just the five of them playing cards, enjoying "fun activities" and reading books.
"Well, we have one non-reader in the house," Pippa admits, "but the rest of us read books."
While life is invariably busy during the school year, with Pippa admitting a family diary is essential to keep on top of all three kids' activities, she still feels she is carrying less with her two daughters proving themselves to be very organised and capable.
"The kids are at fantastic ages now," Pippa explains.
"They are super fun to be with and they're really quite independent, meeting up with mates and organising their own lives a little bit."
The popular broadcaster reveals it's not uncommon to wander into her kitchen to find it full of young people.
"So there's that lovely social aspect where they're back and forwards between friends' places.
"It makes my life a little bit easier," she says.
"I've been able to do a bit more for myself and find more time for myself, which has been lovely."
While the presenter emphasises that she wouldn't change the last decade for the world she acknowledges that raising small children can feel like you're "in the trenches".
"It is hard work. In my thirties I had three babies, three toddlers and then three pre-schoolers.
"Turning 40 felt like quite a milestone where I got to go 'right, I can put that decade to the side'. I've been happy to enter the next one, and I love being in my forties."
As well as getting out more often for walks with her girlfriends or in the company of a good podcast, Pippa has cherished being able to spend more time alone.
"I love being alone," she says.
"Even if I'm just cleaning, so I do create those moments where I can be."
Pippa has also been able to enjoy more time with her corporate lawyer husband Torrin recently.
Married for 14 years, Pippa says Torrin still makes her laugh every day – but the couple has "never really been much into date nights".
"I know some people are really good at it and I admire them but we don't really celebrate anniversaries or Valentine's [Day] or anything.
"As the kids have started to get older, though, we've found that he and I will just be sitting there together having a cup of coffee and it's lovely, really lovely.
"Over the holidays we even went for a walk together," she adds.
"We're not a couple that goes for walks, that's just not really who we are – and he's been running a lot lately too. He really doesn't understand why you would walk when you could run.
"But he did it for me because it would be nice to hang out and it was hilarious.
"We joked most of the way round that he would need to change the setting on his watch so it didn't take into account the data from his walk and lower his average."
Pippa says with clear adoration: "My husband has a fantastic sense of humour. He is a very funny man."
The other change that those close to Pippa and Torrin would have seen in recent times is that the family is eating less meat, and following a more plant-based diet.
The impetus for it came from their daughters, with teenager Brodie, in particular, leading the way.
"It has been an environmental choice," Pippa explains.
"The girls' generation is pretty phenomenal. They have a far greater awareness of the world than I ever did at that age. And they really care."
Following a more plant-based diet is something that Pippa "thought perhaps we as a family should do 12 months ago but I never quite changed the habits I had".
"Without making a big deal of it, Brodie just slowly moved us in that direction.
"She has inspired me to be bit more proactive – because I'm not a huge fan of meal prep and cooking and things like that – but together we've found some different options."
Cami, who never leaves the house without her own metal straw and reusable cutlery, has also had an influence.
Pippa recounts, "But she loves ribs and the other day we were [out] somewhere where they served ribs. You could just see her face – she was really struggling – and Brodie said to her, 'It's okay Cami, you can have ribs'.
"I really like the way they're not beating themselves up about it; they're taking a pragmatic approach.
"I think in terms of this being something that's sustainable, then that's exactly the right attitude to take.
"Yes, we ate bacon today, but that's okay. Some people never get that."
With Brodie at the cusp of her teenage years and Cami in her tweens, Pippa is mindful that there may be a few bumps in the road ahead at home.
"On the morning of Brodie's 13th birthday we were all joking about how she was going to start sleeping in and being real grumpy," Pippa laughs.
"I'd be surprised if we don't have a few rough patches," she acknowledges. "It wouldn't be normal if we didn't.
"But she's a pretty awesome kid and I've said to her several times lately how proud of her I am because she seems to have a steady head on her shoulders."
More than anything Pippa wants to demonstrate to her girls "in as many ways as possible that you should love yourself as you are and be comfortable in your own skin".
"Certainly I'm very keen for them to feel confident and view their bodies as strong and healthy so that they can do all the things they do.
"We do discuss those sorts of things, that what you see on social media is not reality – that for a lot of influencers that's their job and they spend a lot of time and effort getting the perfect shots of things. I think they get it. So for now it's so far, so good.
"I don't get hung up on age and I've never felt any need to have anything done [in terms of enhancing my appearance]," Pippa continues.
"I've got a wonderful great aunt who I'm very close to who's just turned 94 and she's got such great energy. I think it's a privilege to grow old.
"I also say to the kids every now and then 'you earn these wrinkles'.
"My son will touch my tummy and ask, 'Why is it so soft and wrinkly?' And I'll say, 'Because you three grew in there and I wouldn't change that for the world'.
"They're so fantastic at keeping everything real, aren't they?" she quips.

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