Mike McRoberts says he used to get anxiety saying 'Kia ora' on TV in emotional new documentary about te reo Māori journey

Newshub newsreader Mike McRoberts has opened up about experiencing anxiety over using te reo Māori on television. 

McRoberts made the revelation in his documentary Kia Ora, Good Evening which aired on Tuesday at 8:40pm on Three and ThreeNow. 

In the documentary, which explored McRobert's journey learning te reo, he said he used to feel shame and guilt because he was a Māori who didn't know his language.

McRoberts also revealed when he first started reading the 6pm news he experienced anxiety over saying words in te reo. 

"This is my 18th year presenting the 6 o'clock news. TV3 has always been ahead of the curve on te reo so when  I started saying 'Kia ora, good evening' it was part of a legacy of newsreaders who had," he said. "I felt really proud to do so but I felt really anxious about it because I am Māori and I didn't have te reo."

"I would sit out the back of the studio going over and over in my mind the vowel sounds. It was terrifying. 

"I used to get anxiety about even saying, 'Kia ora, good evening' in case I got it wrong."

Mike McRoberts says he used to get anxiety saying 'Kia ora' on TV in emotional new documentary about te reo Māori journey

Over the course of the documentary, McRoberts documented his journey incorporating tikanga and te reo into his everyday life. 

In an emotional interview in the documentary, McRoberts broke down in tears while explaining why knowing te reo was so important to him. 

"It's not just about learning how to speak a language it's about knowing who you are [and] understanding the whakamā that you have for so long about not knowing how to speak it," he said. 

The documentary followed McRoberts journey learning te reo with his partner and children as well as performing a whaikōrero at his marae and getting his moko. 

McRoberts said he remembers feeling ashamed about not knowing te reo Māori when he was as young as 17 years old. 

He recalled being told he needed to improve his reo when he was auditioning for his first job in broadcast media. 

"I remember as a 17-year -old doing an audition for Radio New Zealand and the one comment that came back was that I need to improve on my Māori. 

"I felt humiliated and ashamed of not knowing the language. I made a point of calling myself a journalist who was Māori, not a Māori journalist because then I wasn't expected to know the language [and] know tikanga." 

Watch the full Kia Ora, Good Evening documentary at ThreeNow.