Stacey and Scotty Morrison ‘Our promise to each other’

Every year the devoted couple make a date to ensure they’re in good shape for the future

Broadcaster Scotty Morrison often receives flack from wife Stacey and his three children for being a technophobe.

It’s surprising that as one of our country’s best-known media personalities, Scotty isn’t on any social media platforms and still has an early-model cellphone.

But he assures his wife there’s a good reason why he’s not pressured to keep up with the latest cellphone trends.

“He tells me that I should find it comforting that he gets a model that he likes and then sticks with it,” Stacey says with a smile, looking endearingly at her husband.

“Yup,” replies Scotty. “Once I get used to something, I’m very loyal.”

This cute and intimate exchange is a rare glimpse of how humour and familiarity have kept the spark alive for the couple, who have been happily married for 17 years.

“You must be amazed by the person that you’re with every single day,” tells Scotty. “I have that with Stacey and I’m very grateful.”

Stacey says she has a strong connection with her husband because they share the same values and are both committed to their three children, Hawaiki, 16, Kurawaka, 14, and Maiana, 10.

The “tight five”: Stacey and Scotty with their kids (from left) Hawaiki, Kurawaka and Maiana.

“I love being with Scotty and I want to spend as much time with him as I can. It’s not just the love that I have for him, but we also have a lot of care and respect for each other. When you love someone, you want them to enjoy their life.”

Scotty and Stacey are one of the busiest couples currently working in New Zealand media. Scotty is the presenter for TVNZ shows Te Karere and Marae, and also reads news on Radio Waatea. Stacey is a breakfast co-host on Flava FM and was a cultural advisor for the Australian soap opera Home and Away after a Māori family joined the cast of the show. The fluent te reo Māori speakers are also heavily involved in teaching and promoting the language and culture around Aotearoa. They write books, teach classes, are ambassadors for various organisations and front promotional campaigns.

Stacey and Scotty reach a wide audience with their books and shows. “Our indigenous culture is what makes us unique in Aotearoa.”

Despite their hectic work commitments, the pair says their whānau is top priority. Calling themselves “the tight five”, they work together to ensure they always have quality family time and attend all their children’s sports and important school events.

“We make a good team,” tells Scotty. “It’s about finding a balance and backing each other up.”

He especially enjoys karate lessons with the kids. He will gain his black belt alongside his two eldest later this year.

The commitment is worth it, Stacey says, because they want to enjoy the time with their children while they are still living at home.

“Our schedule will change in terms of what our kids are doing,” she shares. “We work around kapa haka, rugby, netball and what’s happening in their lives. We make sure we don’t miss anything.

“I do miss when they were toddlers and often say to myself, ‘I want a baby.’ Lucky I’ve got lots of young nieces and nephews!”

The couple’s work in the media has meant their children were often in the spotlight, especially when Stacey was filming Whānau Living, where, among the entertainment and lifestyle stories, they showed what it is like to raise children in a Māori-speaking home.

But now they’re older, Scotty and Stacey want to give their children the space to find their own voices.

“We respect their autonomy and their individual mana, and let them choose what they want to get involved in so they can set their own paths,” explains Stacey.

For the Morrison whānau, a special time of year is Matariki. A time of reflection, harvesting, remembrance and appreciation.

The pair want to ensure they are around for their children and their mokopuna, and have started a very special whānau tradition. Every year during Matariki, the couple will undergo a thorough health check, with all the blood tests and examinations to ensure a clean bill of health. They say their annual check-up is extremely important because they both lost a parent in their twenties – Stacey’s mother died of breast cancer and Scotty’s father died of an aneurysm.

“To be healthy and to be around for our children is a major factor,” insists Scotty.

During Matariki, Stacey and Scotty are involved with several hautapu ceremonies across the country. Hautapu is the traditional dawn ceremony and the partaking of karakia (incantations), when the nine stars of Matariki appear on the eastern horizon.

“Matariki is a beautiful kaupapa because the principles and values are all around sustainability,” reflects Scotty.

“It allows us to listen to the environment more and follow what the environment is telling us. We need to be thinking about these issues now. It seems to be a kaupapa that has come to prominence at the right time.”

The pair will be part of a very special Matariki broadcast that airs on all major online and television networks on Friday, July 14. The traditional ceremony will celebrate the first indigenous national holiday in the world and will be filmed from Ngongotahā, Rotorua, in Te Arawa, where both Scotty and Stacey are from.

During last year’s broadcast, the first year that New Zealand honoured Matariki by declaring it a public holiday, Stacey cried watching her husband leading a karakia during the ceremony.

“It was a beautiful moment,” she recalls. “It was a still, clear morning and you could see the Matariki stars in the sky. I cried uncontrollably. My face was covered in tears.

“I was emotional because we had arrived as a nation. It was so different from my childhood. I was grateful that we had got to this place where Matariki could be part of our national identity. And then to see Scotty in the position of saying one of the karakia was overwhelming and sent me over the edge.”

Scotty and Stacey have made a commitment to use their public profile to promote te reo and tikanga Māori, especially when it comes to major events in the yearly calendar such as Māori Language Week and Matariki.

One platform that is helping them is the written word. Scotty has authored many books on the Māori language and everyday phrases, and has signed up to write three more. The couple have written two books together and Stacey is in the final stages of writing a sequel to her debut children’s picture book My First Words in Māori.

She says she saw the impact of her work when she was approached by a two-year-old Pākehā girl at a cafe, who proudly said, “You’re the lady in my Māori book.”

“The difference between writing books and being on TV is that people choose to read and buy books, and it’s on their own terms,” says Stacey. “They can have their own thinking time. This is what we’re offering. If they choose to pick it up, we appreciate that.”

Scotty says the fact their books are in demand shows that New Zealanders are embracing and willing to learn more about the Māori culture.

“People’s attitudes are changing,” he says. “We’ve been peppered with so much negativity over the 180 years when it comes to our indigenous culture. It’s good that we are starting to get some positivity around what it’s like to be Māori. There’s so much understanding and that creates a lot more unity.

“We are lucky that we love all our jobs and that we have different areas of interest. We are parents to our children first. Then we are focused on uplifting our people and helping the wider community and nation to understand that our indigenous culture is what makes us unique in Aotearoa.”

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