10 Questions with Niva Retimanu

Niva Retimanu is part of the NZ Herald Focus team, the digital daily news show bringing you the latest updates. Chelsey sits down with Niva to chat about her team, her new book and some of her favourite things.

1.  You are a presenter on the new current affairs show NZ Herald Focus. What were your first impressions of your co-hosts, Laura McGoldrick, Tristram Clayton and Tony Veitch?

The first time I met Laura, I had hair envy.  She has a great hair-do with her mane of blonde hair.  I’m no Rapunzel with my short, cropped hair. If I let it grow, I’d probably be sporting an afro - with my tough, thick Samoan hair. Laura has a bubbly personality and loves a laugh.  

When I met Tristram, I had height envy. He’s lean and well over six feet tall.   I’m a shorty at five feet four inches.  Damn, I’ve always wanted to be tall.  Oh well, at least I’m taller than Tony Veitch.  Tristram is an all round nice guy.  He’s always smiling and chatty.  

Out of the three presenters, Tony Veitch is the one I know the most having worked with him for many years at Newstalk ZB/Radio Sport.   He’s like my brother to another mother.  We’ve had many fun moments together on radio.  We’re always laughing hysterically both on-air and off-air.  Our humour is very similar. 

2. Congratulations on your new book, Leading From Behind! What motivated you to share your running journey with others?

Leading From Behind is about how I turned my life around - from being a junk food, smoking, non-exercise chick to a healthy marathon runner.   The book is a collection of entertaining yarns about completing six marathons in New York (2), Paris, Beirut, Marlborough and Queenstown.  Sometimes I’m last, but it’s all about crossing the finish line.  I wanted my story to resonate with others.  My message is ‘If I can do it, anyone can do it’.  

 3.  Out of the six marathons youąve run, which one was the most challenging?

The most challenging was the Beirut marathon.  It was tough running in nearly 30-degree heat.  And it didn’t help when I got lost on the course and ended up running an extra two kilometres.   I became an ultra marathoner - completing 44 kilometres instead of 42.  

It took me 7 hours 6 minutes.  I wasn’t last this time.  At least five people were behind me.  

4. The days are certainly getting a bit chillier! What’s your favourite thing about winter?

I love winter fashion - dressing in layers is my favourite thing about winter. It’s a great feeling wearing a scarf, gloves, coat and leather boots.  It’s even better when I’m drinking mulled wine at a bar with outdoor heating on a chilly afternoon.   

5.     What is your go-to recipe for a quick and easy dinner?

Chargrilled chicken, pumpkin and halloumi salad.   Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Place one cup of chopped pumpkin and cherry tomatoes on a tray and bake in oven for 30 minutes. 

Heat coconut oil in pan and add chicken breast to cook.  Then add halloumi slices to the pan.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups of spinach leaves, 2 chopped shallots. Then mix through the cooked chicken, pumpkin, halloumi and tomatoes.

6. Where is your favourite place in New Zealand?

Lake Tekapo in the South Island.  It showcases New Zealand at its best.  The landscape is stunning.   I worked at Radio Caroline in Timaru over 25 years ago, and I used to love holidaying at Lake Tekapo.

7. Whats the best spot for coffee in the Auckland?

RAD cafe in Mt Eden Village, Auckland serves a fantastic long black.  The breakfast menu is amazing,  I love the smoked kahawai. 

8. How do you wind down after a busy day?

I’ve recently taken up yoga to de-stress.  I’m not very flexible, but I know I’ll reap the rewards in the long run.  It’s good for my mind and my running.  When I’ve had a busy day I focus on my breathing and do 10 belly breaths.

9. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A friend of mine said to avoid chafing while running, make sure to rub Vaseline on areas like thighs and breasts.   That was the best advice I was given.  However, I used nearly a full container of Vaseline and ruined my t-shirt with permanent Vaseline stains.  I had to biff my shirt after the run. 

10. What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor, but that notion was short-lived.  I couldn’t stand the sight of blood - when I’d get a bleeding nose as a child, I’d nearly faint at the sight of my OWN blood. The dream of being a doctor didn’t last long. 

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