OPINION: Have you ever lost somebody you loved or somebody you liked suddenly? It's the hardest damn thing to come to terms with.
Just over a month ago, many of us here at TV3 lost a colleague and mate.
It was out of the blue and unexpected, but I've never felt like it was appropriate to talk about - until today.
Her name was Cushla. She was quite simply hilarious, throw-your-head-back funny, rude, naughty, lovely - and yet hard-ass. She was tough. At least she was tough on the outside. That's for sure. She made you laugh. She listened when you needed her.
And now she's not here anymore, and it's a damn tragedy. Every now and then she'll pop into your head and you'll remember something about Cush.
Lately she has appeared in a few of my dreams, and you wake up gutted that your workmate, your friend, isn't there anymore. Absolutely gutted.
Why am I going on about this, you might ask? Well, Cushla had a passion and a mission in life and I want to use this platform to share it with you. Cushla was one of this country's finest news camera operators and was one of just a handful of women in the business. It's mainly seen as man's job, but it needn't be. Anybody can do it.
You need to be fit, keen, eager, interested in camerawork or photography, be up for adventures. And like Cush, you must also be empathetic.
I know at this time of year you high schoolers are starting to think about what you might want to do next year. If you've ever thought about being a camera op - especially if you're a girl or a woman - then go for it. You can do it.
The best places to find more information are the Broadcasting School in Christchurch and South Seas in Auckland.
There, Cush. I've given you a bloody plug.
Ryan Bridge is co-host of The AM Show.
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