Newshub's Samantha Hayes surprised by Mike McRoberts during last show before maternity leave

Newshub Live at 6pm presenter Samantha Hayes teared up live on air during her final bulletin before leaving the programme to begin her maternity leave. 

Hayes is shortly expecting her first child, a baby boy, with her partner Jeroen 'Jay' Blaauw

During Thursday evening's broadcast, Hayes' co-anchor Mike McRoberts surprised her with a special tribute and well-wishes. 

"I'm not quite finished yet," he interrupted during their sign-off before The Project NZ.

Hayes warned him he was "going to make me all tearful" as he began the tribute by acknowledging the multiple staff members pregnant or who have just had a baby.

"On behalf of everyone here at Newshub, I want to say haere me to tātou aroha - go with our love."

McRoberts presented her with a stunning bouquet of flowers, Hayes giving him a hug and kiss on the cheek across the desk in return.

Hayes teared up during the moving exchange, overcome with emotion.

"I'm leaving my Newshub family, but heading off to start a family of my own," she said, her voice cracking.

McRoberts wasn't the only with a surprise for the impending Newsbub. When the presenters crossed to The Project NZ, host Kanoa Lloyd had her own gift - a tiny little onesie with 'Mummy's Little Project' written on it.

"We would love for you to know that we love you lots and I definitely need to have some cuddles with that little bean when he comes out of there," Lloyd added.

Hayes has not publicly confirmed her due date but did tease that her little boy was "not too far away".

Mike McRoberts will remain behind the news desk in Hayes' absence. He will be joined by Newshub's weekend news presenter Melissa Chan-Green, who steps in to take the helm from Friday. 

The Auckland-based broadcaster is also expecting her first child and will begin her maternity leave later this year, at which point Newshub weather presenter Ingrid Hipkiss will take over. 

Graphic of Mike McRoberts and Melissa Chan-Green on the Newshub Live at 6pm set.
Melissa Chan-Green will step into the role before she too goes on maternity leave. Photo credit: Newshub.

Before covering Chan-Green on Newshub Live at 6pm, Hipkiss will step in to read the Newshub Live at 6 weekend bulletin from September 21.

Hipkiss has had a long career at Newshub, starting out as a political reporter in the press gallery.  Previously, she read news bulletins on the Paul Henry show and Nightline.

Director of News Hal Crawford said there were a huge number of experienced journalists and presenters keen to step in for their team members. 

"It’s indicative of the depth of our bench at Newshub that we have such an expert team we can call on," he said. 

"I wish Sam the best of luck and look forward to seeing her back at 6pm soon." 

Samantha Hayes smiling and holding her baby bump.
Samantha Hayes is expecting her first baby, or 'Newsbub' as he's been dubbed. Photo credit: Newshub.

Before becoming a Newshub Live at 6pm presenter, Hayes fronted a host of programmes, including Newshub Late, 3rd Degree, Newsworthy, and Firstline.