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Kanoa Lloyd on new TVNZ Heavyweight assignment, new life behind camera

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Kanoa Lloyd says she is getting to use her brain and her heart in her new role on Heavyweight with Dave Letele.

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Former TV host Kanoa Lloyd is teaming up with former boxer and community advocate Dave Letele to film another two episodes of the hit documentary Heavyweight with Dave Letele – but staying behind the camera lens.

Lloyd’s TV3 show The Project was axed last year and the summer break gave the mum of toddler Nikau Iris time to consider her work-life options.

She said the opportunity to team up with the production crew behind the high-rating TVNZ documentary – which is also screening on Air New Zealand flights – was too good to turn down and an opportunity not to be missed.

“I’m choosing not to actively pursue on-screen opportunities right now – this is a great place for me to be,” Lloyd told the Herald.

Dave Letele and Kanoa Lloyd. Photo / Supplied
Dave Letele and Kanoa Lloyd. Photo / Supplied

“This job has been something of a gift in terms of timing. I got time off over summer to decompress that was very much needed. I had to learn to slow down a bit. And the timing aligned for this opportunity. Now I’m getting to use my brain and my heart, with none of the stress of makeup or remembering how to string a sentence together. I’m getting to actually talk to people properly, hear their stories and meet them where they are – without worrying about a nightly deadline.”

Lloyd said the opportunity to contribute to “meaningful outcomes” was a focus for her in 2024.

“It’s a welcome change being behind the scenes following six years fronting TV3′s The Project which was axed late last year.

“For now, I’m choosing to focus on projects that have meaning and mana. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team and I know Aotearoa will really resonate with the stories being told through Heavyweight”.

Kanoa Lloyd with daughter Nikau Iris. Photo / Supplied
Kanoa Lloyd with daughter Nikau Iris. Photo / Supplied

“With this project – we are going deeper and taking our important time to do that. It’s a nice pace change – and on a personal front, without that 7pm show each night it’s lovely to be home more with my daughter, actually sitting around the same dinner table and getting into our PJs together. I’ve been enjoying that – it’s been good for me”

Lloyd said Letele is a true community champion.

“Dave is a man on a mission. I think anyone who meets him and hears what he has to say gets pulled into his orbit. It really feels possible to make positive change with him around. It’s beautiful to be around someone who doesn’t have time for cynicism, he just wants to make change.”

Heavyweight Media, the production company behind the documentary has welcomed Lloyd (Ngāti Porou) to its production team as it prepares to launch another two episodes of Heavyweight for TVNZ later this year.

The former Project host joins a small team including producers Mario Gaoa and Eileen Lee, alongside directors Ant Farac and Tuki Laumea who all worked on the first successful episode. Lloyd is working on research for the episodes which are currently in pre-production.

Letele (Ngāti Maniapoto, Samoa) says he was really pleased that Lloyd was able to join the team.

“We ended up doing some work together late last year at an event, and the timing just worked out really well. Our paths have crossed many times before through the media, but we’re loving having her on board. There’s real value alignment there which is important to us. She cares about what we’re doing and the good that could come from it. That’s why she’s here. That’s why we’re all here”.

The first episode of Heavyweight with Dave Letele focused on alcohol and addiction. The next episodes will focus on health and obesity along with crime and gangs. Whilst not a journalist, Letele speaks from experience. In each episode he shares his own highly personal story and speaks with others at critical points in their own journeys.

A new TVNZ series with community advocate Dave Letele entitled Heavyweight. Photo / Supplied
A new TVNZ series with community advocate Dave Letele entitled Heavyweight. Photo / Supplied

Joseph Los’e is an award winning journalist and joined NZME in 2022 as Kaupapa Māori Editor. Los’e was a chief reporter, news director at the Sunday News newspaper covering crime, justice and sport. He was also editor of the NZ Truth and prior to joining NZME worked for urban Māori organisation Whānau Waipareira.

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