Suzy Cato admits dreaming of permanent return to television in podcast with Jacinda Ardern

Children's entertainer Suzy Cato has admitted dreaming of a permanent return to television presenting in a podcast conversation with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

As New Zealand combats the spread of COVID-19, the Prime Minister is recording interviews with well-known Kiwis about what they are doing during the pandemic and what advice they have for other New Zealanders.

Cato is well-known as a children's entertainer, having presented shows like You and Me and Suzy's World in 1990s and early 2000s. She has been back on our screens recently as part of the Government's educational television channel, which was rolled out earlier this month to support Kiwis learning remotely during this pandemic.

Ardern said that one of the main questions she was asked prior to recording the podcast was whether Cato would permanently return to television.

"People want to see you more often. So tell us about your plans for the future," the Prime Minister asked.

Cato said it is something she would be interested in, but while she may not have been on television every day, she has still been creating content. 

"I have never stopped making kids' content. I have got a kid's radio show that is on 25 radio stations around the country, so it is on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It is all your old favourite songs and stories from when we were growing up, you know Flick the Fire Engine and Little Toot, and a lot of local content, music that's been created by local artists," she said.

"I have got a YouTube channel, and so I've been making a lot of arts and crafts for kids and getting kids involved in it as well, which is fantastic."

"I would love to be back on television full-time, so I would love to have a team together again to create content like this. At the moment, there's just my husband and I, and we've luckily got an editor or two involved now. But just to have a team that's creating stuff that's engaging kids and getting them interested in their environment and their communities. That's a wonderful dream of mine."

She said her YouTube channel features similar segments to what is on the learning channel and is catered towards children up to the age of 12.

During the wide-ranging, 20-minute conversation, the pair touched on how parents can keep children motivated during what will be an unusual and stressful time. Among Cato's tips was to find some kind of structure and for parents to help their kids get engaged where possible.

"If you can encourage kids to try and keep some structure and to keep working forward then that would be fantastic. Focus on the subjects that you really enjoy, but it is about enjoying this time, because it is stressful. Parents with stresses can't help but share those stresses occasionally," she said.

"It is about making it enjoyable without too much pressure on the parent trying to be the teacher or the child really trying to achieve."

Cato said she is having to find props around the house to use on television. 

"You just can't get jelly beans at the moment. So we had to make a graph with gummy bears instead," she said, to which Ardern added: "Which I would say… controversial, but I would say maybe a superior lolly."

But Cato wasn't sure.

"I don't know, you can't go past a black jelly bean, I love them," the children's presenter said.

Ardern jokingly replied: "That is also a polarising statement Suzy. This might be the time when we pull down that icon status."

Cato, who has begun using TikTok to make dance videos, also asked the Prime Minister if she was considering setting up an account on the social media application.

"No, no… No, I lack basic coordination. Thank you though for asking."