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Family

What Simon Bridges' middle child says to wind him up - plus other hilarious tales from Kiwi dads

To celebrate Father’s Day, we check in with some famous Kiwi dads, but it's Simon's story about his cheeky five-year-old son that takes the cake!

Simon Bridges

As the Leader of the Opposition, Simon juggles fatherhood with his busy job – he's been at the helm of the National Party since February last year and Tauranga MP since 2008.
Simon (42) and his wife Natalie, the director of a public relations and marketing firm, have three children, Emlyn (7), Harry (5), and Jemima (1).
What's the best piece of advice your father gave you?
Dad has always been very ambitious for his six kids and always encouraged us to work hard and try our best. As a Baptist minister, he also led a life of service in our community. His actions more than his words have been the best example for me.
What's your best Father's Day memory?
I'm the youngest of six, and one year when I was very young we gave Dad a Father's Day card signed by all of us. My signature was massive and all over the place. For the next 15 years or so, we gave Dad the same card and he was always appreciative and never seemed to notice. My siblings and I thought it was a great laugh every year.
How did you spend Father's Day as a child? What do you do nowadays?
Growing up, I remember Sunday lunches with a roast dinner followed by a sponge cake. Then Dad would settle in and watch sports on TV. Today still revolves around food. We'll go out for brunch and then maybe a walk or we'll kick a ball around.
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
There are no holidays! But seriously, probably the tender moments.
What do you wish someone had warned you about becoming a dad?
Someone needed to warn me about Harry, our middle child. As a five-year-old, his cheekiness makes me laugh every day but knows no bounds. When we are in malls and other public places and he wants to wind me up, he'll yell "Jacinda" or "Winston Peters" at the top of his voice.
What's your best dad joke?
What do you call someone with no body and no nose? Nobody knows.
What's the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
Time. The other stuff is nice to have, but time with your kids is essential.
What do you want for Father's Day?
A small speedboat for summer. I can't see that happening this year, but I'd be happy with just a card from the kids – hopefully not the same one they gave me last year!

Sam Kelway

Sam and his wife Rosie quit Auckland two years ago to move to Mt Maunganui, where Sam (35) is a TVNZ reporter. They're proud parents of daughter Violet (2).
What's the best piece of advice your father gave you?
Dad's incredibly smart, hard-working and supportive. It's not his style to offer advice. Instead, he encouraged us to be the best version of ourselves, and respected the process of getting there. I certainly made this challenging at times, but he's always been there for our family, and he continues to be a source of inspiration.
What's your favourite Father's Day memory?
Dad was always up first. Mum would buy the presents and my two sisters and younger brother and I would write in the cards. He'd have a cup of tea and toast, and then he'd be off, muttering something like, "The lawns won't mow themselves", or, "Have I told you the story about the Little Red Hen?"
How did you spend Father's Day as a child? What do you do now?
Dad isn't one to seek attention or lie about in the spoils of cheap cards. It was spent like any other day. Nowadays, it's a persistent child calling for her "porr-widge" as she opens the presents, and scribbles in the cheap card.
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
Despite all the nappies, the marked walls, depleted funds and demands, what surprised me most was how much you love your child. Watching them grow, develop ideas and investigate is truly special.
What do you wish someone had warned you about becoming a dad?
Violet arrived seven weeks early and we spent some time in the newborn intensive care unit. Having a preterm baby was not on our radar. You need to be realistic that birth and the first few weeks that follow can be touch and go. Accept all offers of help, especially meal rosters. Rest and take five minutes every day to sit back and observe your little creation – because they only get noisier and more challenging.
What's your best dad joke?
I've never really liked the idea of having facial hair but it's really growing on me. [Insert deflated trumpet sound here!]
What would you say is the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
Patience.
What do you most want for Father's Day this year?
This is a loaded question. I should say, "I have everything I need," but since you asked, I want a trailer-load of firewood. Most weekends are spent chopping up recycled crates. This will probably form Violet's first Father's Day memories, as Dad mutters, "Have I told you the story about the Little Red Hen?"

Robert Scott

Now in his fourth decade on radio, Robert (53) can be heard on The Breeze on weekdays, 3-7pm. He and his wife Carmel have two children, Sam (22, above) and Molly (18).
What's the best piece of advice your father gave you?
His mum looked after him on her own from a very early age. When my new girlfriend learned she was having our baby, he said simply: "Don't leave her." Carmel and I have now been together for 23 years.
What's your favourite Father's Day memory?
Getting homemade cards.
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
How quickly they grow up. One moment you're pushing them in a swing, the next they are after your car keys.
What do you wish someone had warned you about?
Through any stage as they grow, you never stop worrying. There are just different things to worry about.
What's your best dad joke?
My grandad tried to warn them about the Titanic. He screamed and shouted about the iceberg, but all they did was throw him out of the theatre.
What's the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
Patience.
What do you most want for Father's Day?
Permission from the family to buy more vinyl records!

Mark Richarson

He came to the attention of Kiwis as a star cricketer, and now keeps the nation entertained each morning on The AM Show, where his comments have livened up many a water-cooler conversation.
He juggles his morning show with hosting reality show The Block. Mark (44) also has 13-year-old twins, Annabel and Charlie, with his wife Mary.
What's the best piece of advice your father ever gave you?
In a fight, always throw the first punch. It's a pretty good metaphor for life, really – and fighting.
What's your favourite Father's Day memory?
I think it's always the first one when your kids understand the concept. I don't think I got anything extra special, but I just remember the kids being really excited about the whole thing.
How did you spend Father's Day as a child? What do you do now?
It was never really a big thing in our household. Mother's Day was always a bit more observed because mums like to do something nice with the family. Us dads are quite happy to be left alone for some "man time".
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
How much you can love something.
What do you wish someone had warned you about?
You get a lot of warnings from a lot of people before the kids arrive, most, if not all, of them being true. So I'll give a warning to others: When you have kids, life's jeopardy goes up. There is no room for failure now because you're not just batting for yourself.
What's the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
Energy.
What do you most want for Father's Day this year?
Just a bit of time with the kids.

Tom McRae

Tom on set with wife Ruby and kids Leo and Ruby
Newshub presenter and reporter Tom (36) has covered some of the biggest news stories in recent years, from the Canterbury earthquakes and the Pike River mine disaster, to the terror attacks in Paris.
In the last few years, he's been on our screens presenting weekend news. Tom and his wife Rachel welcomed their daughter Ruby (1) last year, who joined son Leo (3).
What's the best advice your father ever gave you?
Always have a plan B.
What's your favourite Father's Day memory?
When I was nine, I tried cooking Dad soft-boiled eggs and soldiers for breakfast. It was pretty much raw, unfortunately. Watching his face while he ate it, pretending it was delicious, was priceless.
How did you spend Father's Day as a child?
I grew up with two younger brothers, so after giving Dad breakfast in bed and handing over our homemade cards, we would pretty much disappear for the day – I think peace and quiet was the best present we could give.
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
Just how much it would change everything about life as I knew it. And how much fun it would be.
What do you wish someone had warned you about becoming a dad?
How much it would change everything about life as I knew it!
What's your best dad joke?
What do you call a man who can't stand? Neil.
What's the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
Endless patience.
What do you most want for Father's Day this year?
A sleep-in!

Tim Roxborogh

Tim with daughter Riley and their cat named... Baby.
Tim (37) is a travel writer and radio host on Newstalk ZB as one half of The Weekend Collective alongside Tim Wilson.
This year, he celebrates his first Father's Day as a dad, after his wife Aimee gave birth to their first child, daughter Riley, on July 5.
What's the best advice your father ever gave you?
To not go to birthday parties expecting a goodie bag! I remember getting a proper telling-off from Dad when I was about seven for saying, "I'm excited about going to this birthday party, I wonder what will be in the goodie bags?"
Dad took it so seriously: "Don't ever go to a party thinking what you might get!" It was a bit of a penny-drop moment – to not be self-centred and think about myself over others. But hey, Malaysia in the 1980s was all about the goodie bags at children's parties!
How did you spend Father's Day as a child?
Mum and Dad never put a huge emphasis on Mother's Day and Father's Day. We'd always give a card and say, "Thanks for everything!" It wasn't until adulthood that I started sending Mum flowers and Dad a book. Then I realised that Dad had way too many books and he was re-gifting them back to me!
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
Just how surreal that first moment when we met our baby felt. It was an out-of-body experience and it was so special having my wife's mother and sister there for the delivery. Having seen everything Aimee went through to bring Riley into the world, the tears of relief and joy we all instantly had is a frozen-in-time moment that I'll never forget.
What do you wish someone had warned you about?
That it's totally normal for babies to lose weight after they're born, before regaining it. This was a bit scary, but we are pleased to say Riley has sailed past her birth weight and has some lovely chubby little cheeks that no human to date has been able to resist squishing.
What's your best dad joke?
I'm not much of a joke guy, but I love telling yarns and can't wait to embarrass Riley when she's older with long-winded re-imaginings of her father's most rambunctious and flamboyant adventures!
What's the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
A good mother for your child!
I feel so grateful to my wife for what a wonderful, committed and loving mother she is. I'm also thankful to family and friends who've helped us with their generosity and time. People have been so kind.
What do you most want for Father's Day this year?
For Riley to be happy and for Aimee to have lots of sleep.

Colin Hogg

Jamie (33) was Colin's best man for his wedding to his second wife, Philippa.
Columnist Colin knows a thing or two about being a dad. He started writing a column for the Weekly in 1982. Called According to Summer, it chronicled his life as a dad surrounded by women.
Summer, his eldest, is now 41 and he has five other children (daughters Gemma, Rima, Uma and Maddy and son Jamie) and is a grandad – and he still entertains us with his columns!
What's the best advice your father ever gave you?
"Don't ask a question if you don't want to hear the answer," was one of his memorable ones.
What's your favourite Father's Day memory?
I like to turn my memories to my babies, though they're not babies now. Many of them now have their own babies – and most of those ones aren't babies anymore either.
How did you spend Father's Day as a child?
I'd have given Dad a present. Possibly a golf ball. Very difficult to wrap.
What has surprised you most about fatherhood?
What I should have known all along – that it never ends.
What do you wish someone had warned you about?
I would have ignored all warnings. I didn't have the faintest idea of what I was in for, but I didn't care and I still don't. Being a father is the best thing any man can do. I did it six times.
What's your best dad joke?
I like to think of myself as an ongoing joke – puns wherever possible, deliberate misunderstandings, faked heart attacks (strangely not popular), the whole routine. It's exhausting.
What do you most want for Father's Day this year?
I would, actually, like to get a tottering stack of presents, but that's unlikely. Phone calls are good: "Hello, Daddy." "Which one are you?"

Duncan Garner

A huge number of Kiwis wake up to Duncan's voice, tuning in to Three's The AM Show, or the radio station Magic.
Duncan (45) is a father of four – his youngest, Buster, is eight.
What's the best advice your father gave you?
Slow down mate, it hurt nobody.
What's your best Father's Day memory?
Running up the stairs as a kid and seeing Dad so excited at another pair of undies and socks – nicely faked.
How did you spend Father's Day as a child? What do you do nowadays?
Cleaning his car then. Cleaning my house now.
What's surprised you the most about fatherhood?
How much love you have for your children.
What do you wish someone had warned you about becoming a dad?
The trickery of relationships and compromise.
What would you say is the number one must-have for Kiwi dads?
Patience, warmth and empathy. Kids need hugs and they need love – it's so important.
What do you most want for Father's Day this year?
To hang out with the kids and watch them do things for me. The chances? Fat zero!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Love your dad, seek him out, get advice, treasure him, treat him well and respect the sacrifice of both parents – and I can't carry on as my eyes just started welling up and I can't see the screen...

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