Newshub Nation Backstory: National MP Andrew Bayly recounts childhood as an identical twin

  • 15/04/2023

How well do we really know our politicians and the personal values and experiences they bring to decisions that affect us all?

Newshub Nation's Backstory series goes behind the scenes into the lives and childhood photo albums of our political leaders.

Born on a farm in Whanganui, National MP Andrew Bayly was one of six brothers, and half of a pair of twins, in a household he described as "pretty dynamic".

Andrew says his twin brother Paul and he used to "roam the farm and ride horses".

"We were pretty feral," Paul said. 

"Our idea of fun was going hunting in the bush from a very early age," Paul said while recounting their upbringing. 

The brothers' identical appearances led to cases of mistaken identity from an early age, and Andrew recalled once being called to the headmaster's office to be caned for offences committed by his brother Paul. 

Paul admitted, "I was always in trouble," going on to recount that he would often say he was his brother to avoid punishment. 

The brothers spent seven years at boarding school before both joining the military. 

"You've got to remember we're genetically the same and our two wives, poor things, have to put up with us," said Paul. 

"They're married to genetically the same man, which is really weird when you think about it," he added. 

Andrew believes that while "people should focus on their main careers, it's important to have a second element to your life".

When he came back to New Zealand, Andrew took up adventure racing and mountain climbing, and has even been to Antarctica. 

He has used adventurous trips as a way to bond with his sons. 

He went to the North Pole with his eldest son, dragging sledges behind them all the way.

While he described it as a "great run", he admitted, "there were moments when we wondered whether we were going to get there".

With his second son, Andrew went to Jordan and followed the routes of Lawrence of Arabia, on camelback, something that had never been done before. 

With his youngest, he went to Mongolia and herded reindeer. 

"Pretty cool isn't it, going to cool places with your sons and doing fantastic things," Andrew said. 

Andrew said that he had always wanted to go into politics, and when the seat for Hunua came up in 2014, he went for it.

"I reckon it's a hard gig that one," said twin brother Paul.

"It involves an extraordinary amount of personal sacrifice and family sacrifice."

Andrew said there is one big adventure still on the list: "Following the old salt route from Morocco, through the Sahara Desert, down to Timbuktu."

"One day, one day, I'm going to do that route." 

Watch the full Backstory for more. 

Watch Newshub Nation 9:30am Saturday/10am Sunday on Three & Three Now, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.