Duncan Garner: The special place in my heart for Three

TV3, or simply Three as we call it today, is 30 years old - and I hope this station has a special place in your heart.

It certainly does in mine. 

TV3 has always led change. It was the first to do one-hour news; less stuffy more opinionated, and unashamedly so. 

I've done almost 20 years here, which means I was 25 when I signed. 

I quit TVNZ, frustrated they wouldn't allow me to report on the sacking of Christine Rankin the way I saw it. 

So I signed, only to get a counteroffer a week later from Bill Ralston to go back to TVNZ. No thanks.

I fell in love with TV3 early, the freedom to journalistically let your hair down. I was in Parliament's Press Gallery and news boss Mark Jennings encouraged us to get the bastards - so we did. 

There was an aggressive edge to our reporting.

Sure, it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but we hounded the bullies out of office and hopefully broke stories that mattered. 

Hmm, because it matters - where have I heard that recently? 

We did it all on a shoestring and for the love of the game.

So tight with the dough, were we, that I recall coming back from APEC in Singapore and I owed the company $72, despite 22-hour days for five days straight.

I argued the point but they wanted it back - so being the belligerent little so-and-so I was I went to Tim who ran the NZ Post Shop in Parliament and asked for $72 in 10-cent pieces.

It took days to order them and $26 to courier them to our accountant, and $13 for the cab - all charged to TV3. 

Subsequently I heard my name was mud for weeks.

I called it character building, the boss later told me I was a prick. He wasn't wrong, but I wanted to make a point.

The place taught me journalism, but I left Parliament shattered after 17 years of daily warfare where you have to turn feral to survive.

So I shoulder-tapped Paddy Gower and I can't repeat what I said. 

Now the names that scream TV3 to me are John Hawkesby, Eric Young, Amanda Millar, the 7 Days team, Campbell Live.

That was John at his best, and I worked closely with him for years. He was devastating. 

Hilary, Mike, and Gower - the mad Gower, I can't help but feel partly responsible, but Jennings, you ought to take some of the blame too.

Happy Birthday to us, or is it? I have mixed reactions. 

We are for sale right now and it's uncertain times. But no one is down, the work and the energy is as strong as ever. 

It sums our people up really. Even facing these odd times they are - we are - as bullish as ever. 

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.

Contact Newshub with your story tips: