Spy editor Ricardo Simich gives out his annual awards for the most head-turning people.
It’s that time of year when Spy editor Ricardo Simich gives out his annual awards for the most head-turning people.
Secret wedding of the year
We’ve never seen photos – but Spy picked that Taika Waititi and Rita Ora were due to walk up the aisle in London in July.
The Kiwi director taking his two daughters Te Hinekāhu and Matewa to the UK fuelled our speculation a London wedding was on the cards for him and his popstar partner.
In August, global headlines were filled with speculation that the couple had tied the knot in a small secret ceremony in Ora’s home city after Waititi was seen wearing what appeared to be a wedding ring on social media.
We also picked a Kiwi honeymoon and the pair hit Auckland and Wellington weeks later.
There was some jet setting in between, Ora went on to headline the opening triple header of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in October at Eden Park.
The pair were then a hit double-act when they co-hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards in Dusseldorf Germany last month.
Ora and Waititi enjoyed time on Waiheke Island staying at Omana Luxury Villas in September, but Ora has yet to experience NZ when it is warm, let alone hot.
Early next year the popstar is expected back on this side of the world to judge The Voice Australia for 2023. Here’s hoping the pair can have some quality time in Godzone when the Kiwi summer is at its best.
The most travelled
As the cost of living continues to bite, we often look at how the other half lives for a bit of escapism. And with the borders fully open again this year, Rich listers were grabbing their passports a lot.
Standing out from the pack was billionaire toy and FMCG magnate Nick Mowbray of Zuru and partner Jaimee Lupton of Monday Haircare.
With Zuru having more than 5000 team members in more than 30 global locations, the pair mixed business and holidays with style, while they covered their fair share of air miles.
Mowbray incorporated big city business with a US golfing trip in February and attended Coachella in California in April. In June, Lupton celebrated her 30th birthday with more than a dozen friends on Kokomo Private Island resort in Fiji.
The couple then spent a nice portion of the season in the European summer – including some picturesque spots in Italy and Greece.
But it’s not all luxury travel – the couple featured prominently in Spy’s Kings and Queens of Charity list and among their philanthropic activities, Zuru annually donates more than 500 toys to Starship Hospital. For the past three years, Mowbray and Lupton have gone into the hospital at Christmas to hand out the toys, making a connection with at least one family whom they have invited to their home, and with whom they have stayed in regular contact.
Los Angeles-based superstar choreographer Parris Goebel has made “Best” lists for nearly a decade. This year her inimitable style fully came into its own and the fashion world sat up and paid attention.
Whether it has been in magazines, up on billboards, strutting and dancing on the catwalk or being front row at fashion shows, Goebel had it over everyone on the style front.
Earlier this year she was the toast of New York Fashion Week, from being a celebrity guest at Alexander McQueen to closing out the week for celebrity ‘It” brand, The Blonds, for whom she hit the catwalk to thunderous applause.
Her unique way of slaying had her at A-list fashion events and shoots in Europe too. The big brands keep knocking and Goebel seems to evolve their style as much as her own.
As the cover girl of the first ever Reset magazine in August, the dancer showed how she likes to tell a story as she does in dance when it comes to her fashion, and she likes to disrupt and change up the norm.
Her style spilled into interior design this year as she decorated her new home in LA. Her Instagram was littered with ultra-cool furniture and art as she shared her design journey with her followers.
In September, when she collected her first Emmy for Outstanding Choreography for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show, Goebel not only looked like a dream, her acceptance was full of exceptional style and grace.
Most surprising hook-ups
Spy broke the news of three interesting hook-ups this year. First up, Dancing with the Stars’ Alex Vaz dating his dance partner Brittany Coleman.
In July, Vaz stayed quiet with Spy on their relationship status and his escape with Coleman to fellow DWTS contestant Kerre Woodham’s idyllic Northland retreat in Hokianga. By October the former Heartbreak Island star was proud to pose up on social media as Hugh Hefner with girlfriend Coleman as a Playboy Bunny for Halloween. And by November, the pair sat down for a glossy women’s magazine photoshoot and interview in which they declared their love.
They’re not the only couple to have hooked up from the show. Former Shortland Street actor Shane Cortese famously married his dance partner Nerida after meeting on set in 2005. They split in 2019.
In October – a week after professional boxer David Nyika’s knockout win over Titi Motusaga in Melbourne – he told Spy about the new love in his life, Lexy Thornberry.
Nyika had dressed in a Tarzan-inspired garb at his fight and Thornberry a former Love Island Australia contestant, dressed in yellow as Jane.
The double Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympic bronze medallist met Thornberry through Nyika’s Aussie trainer, her dad, Noel.
The pair were enjoying time on the family farm in Gatton, Queensland, and promised to visit New Zealand before the end of the year. It will be Thornberry’s first time.
And last month, the romance between actor Kim Crossman and cameraman Tom Walsh – most famous for being the Tip Top Trumpet’s “Togs, togs, undies” guy – lit up the internet. They are looking forward to spending a combined Christmas together with their families in Pauanui.
Most unlikely fashionista
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown surprised Spy when we hit up the top three mayoral candidates ahead of the election in August.
Brown, along with Viv Beck and Efeso Collins discussed their sartorial style.
Brown – famous for his casual look for getting things done and fixing things – gave brief but fashion-savvy answers.
He managed to name-drop designer Maggie Marilyn, whom he said was a family friend, and said his other close mates in fashion were “Nev and Liz Findlay of Zambesi”.
After casually mentioning some of the coolest people in fashion, Brown said his favourite labels were surf brands Quiksilver and Rip Curl and added that he hadn’t worn a tie this century.
He now has the mayoral chains as an accessory.
Biggest breakfast TV scandal
It’s been musical chairs for both morning news shows on TVNZ 1 and Three this year – with the former regretting one of the hires.
In February, we introduced Melissa Chan-Green to join host Ryan Bridge, with Bernadine Oliver-Kerby on news and sport and social media star William Waiirua as the weatherman out in the field.
It took Waiirua a few months to find his groove and transfer his social media magic into TV.
Bridge and Chan-Green have complemented each other like bacon and eggs, with Oliver-Kerby the perfect toast. Unfortunately, Oliver-Kerby had to take leave from the show in October to rest and recover from a diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy and the team is looking forward to welcoming her back as soon as she is ready.
Last month Chan-Green, accompanied by her 3-year-old son, Busby, revealed live on air that she was pregnant with her second child.
Over on TVNZ 1′s Breakfast, as much as the team of Jenny-May Clarkson, Matty McLean and Indira Stewart have tried with great aplomb – their threesome has been lacking their fourth compatriot.
The show started the year with a shiny new 360-degree set. But not everyone loved it – former Breakfast host Paul Henry slammed it in an interview last month.
In April – the team became three when they farewelled John Campbell to become the network’s chief correspondent.
Within the month, Spy asked if the show’s new, about-to-start host Kamahl Santamaria, could be enough to keep TVNZ on top in the morning viewership wars.
A month later, Santamaria caused explosions in newsrooms around the nation when he resigned following allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards multiple women.
TVNZ’s head of news and current affairs Paul Yurisich, who hired Santamaria and had previously worked with him at Al Jazeera, went on a period of leave while a review was carried out. He subsequently resigned at the end of July.
Biggest reality TV scandals
All eyes were on TVNZ’s new chief executive Simon Power for the network’s More is More celebration party at St Matthew-in-the-City in June.
The party marked the arrival of TVNZ+ as the new name of their streaming service, and the local dating show to stream on it, FBOY Island NZ hosted by Shavaughn Ruakere.
In October – days before the new tropical island dating show’s “Meet the cast” party – the Herald on Sunday revealed that a contestant, Wayde Moore, 26, had appeared in court last year charged with suffocating a woman. He had admitted to police that he had lured her to his home because she was drunk and he hoped to have sex with her.
The day after, TVNZ announced the show would still be launching that month but Moore would be edited out – deciding it was in the best interests of all involved to remove him as a contestant from both the show and promotion.
A week of public navel-gazing went on about the reality tv genre, but the show went on to stream well for the network and the stars of the show, which was a lot more lighthearted than the title suggested. Kiera McLeod, Kita Bunton and Coco Song came away friends.
In July, Bravo threw a glamourous dinner at Mantells to celebrate its local content with the stars of its new shows, Rich Listers and Clubhouse Rescue.
Rich Listers promised the best in the real estate business selling multi million-dollar houses. Butter wouldn’t melt in the mouths of some of the agents at the dinner, but specifics could not be shared on mega deals as the show was still to hit the air.
In September, the show hit screens and murmurs began that some of the cars the agents drove were not theirs in real life and the house sales were not all they were cracked up to be.
Alex Breingan, managing director of the show’s TV production company – Stripe Studios – admitted to the Herald on Sunday that Rich Listers reflected the “genre of reality TV” but used fictional storylines.
The show wasn’t exactly a must-watch until the end, which was unfortunate, because after the credits, a message flashed up to let viewers know about the fiction.
Parties of the year
After a two-year hiatus, Spy brought back its Party Page in August. The “openings of envelopes” are as fashionable as ever – charity and awards galas, new establishments and products and A-list parties.
The launch party for Celebrity Treasure Island at the Glasshouse in Morningside in early September was one of the best knees-ups.
It was a packed affair with TVNZ generous with the beverages, creating more than a few laughs and a secret or two were spilled. Most of the celebrities were there with Jesse Tuke, who had won the show, managing a poker face with Spy until the end. CTI host Bree Tomasel was flying solo, her co-host Matt Chisholm was a no-show – an omen indeed – for news followed later, during the launch of the upcoming Treasure Island: Fans vs. Faves that he had been replaced with former Shortland Street star Jayden Daniels.
In November, the New Zealand Television Awards had the year’s biggest and most glittering ceremony and wild after-parties. It followed muted celebrations weeks earlier for the Aotearoa Music Awards which had a party at Everybody’s in Auckland’s CBD.
Seven hundred people applauded their peers as they wined and dined at the awards at Shed 10. Tomasel deservedly took out Personality of the Year. Plaudits given, the best on the box began to let their hair down at the venue and as the clock struck midnight, kicked off their heels and ties at various hotspots around the city until the very early hours of the morning.
Best rocking CEO
In October Spy featured chief executive of Eden Park, Nick Sautner, as an Auckland’s “mover and shaker” – and it wasn’t just for the sporting games on his turf.
We are sure thousands of music fans will agree. The Aussie, who has called Auckland home for six years, has rocked his way into their worlds over the past few months.
The heated debate about concerts at the park became a distant memory when Six60 christened the stadium as a rock venue in November.
Over the past few weekends, Billy Joel and Guns N’ Roses played in the garden of Eden with local restaurants, bars and hotels said to be packed, with a huge number of fans coming from outside of Auckland to enjoy the concerts.
Sautner knows how to network. Among the A-List guests he has had in his suite this year, was Spy’s favourite Hollywood star to spend time in NZ this year, Elizabeth Banks. She was in Auckland to film the movie A Mistake.
Cupid’s bow struck many couples this year. One of the standouts was Breakfast’s Matty McLean, who announced his engagement to long-term partner Ryan Teece in February on Instagram.
“He asked. I said yes!” McLean wrote with a picture of the pair drinking champagne at The Hotel Britomart. A third of McLean’s more than 70,000 followers liked the post. McLean told Spy the pair would marry this summer at Parihoa Farm in Muriwai.
In May, Spy reported the romantic society engagement that was helped along nicely by paralympic multiple-gold medallist Liam Malone. He helped organise and film the surprise proposal. Successful Auckland businessman Israel Whitley got down on one knee – surrounded by rose petals – to propose to Georgia O’Sullivan, daughter of racing royalty, before leading her to a celebration with friends and family. O’Sullivan told Spy her answer was “a trillion times yes”.
With her nuptials expected any day now, the proposal by Sydney-based top model Georgia Fowler’s long-term partner restaurateur Nathan Dalah was as fashion as it gets. In July, Dalah dropped down on one knee to propose to her on set, surrounded by cameras and flashing lights on a Vogue shoot for Tiffany & Co – with a Tiffany True diamond engagement ring of course.