Host of TVNZ's first bilingual game show says role is 'an honour and a privilege'

From It’s in the Bag and The Weakest Link to Sale of the Century, it’s no secret that Aotearoa loves a good game show.

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Seven Sharp went behind the scenes of Matai Smith’s 9 Lives for a sneak preview. Source: Seven Sharp

Now, Good Morning’s Matai Smith is making his return to the small screen in a new and exciting prime time quiz show with a difference.

The latest addition is 9 Lives — TVNZ’s very first bilingual trivia show.

"It’s an honour and a privilege to be the host of this bilingual game show," Smith said.

"If I reflect 26 years ago, even three or four years ago, there was a little bit of eyebrow raising whenever we used to say, ‘Kia ora e te iwi and welcome back to the show'," he said.

"Now, on a show like this where I do a mihi and an intro in Māori and the contestants are starting to pick up on things like 'tau kē, awesome, well done', so I always follow up whatever I say in teo reo, I'll come back and say it in English."

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The 9 Lives host spoke to Jordyn Rudd from TVNZ’s A Current Affair about the show’s distinctly Kiwi twist.

Smith, who is the breakfast co-host and station manager of Gisborne’s Tūranga FM Media, has worked in the industry since 1995 from Pukana to Korero Mai to his award-winning role on Good Morning.

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However, 9 Lives will be Smith’s first time as a quiz master.

"When you are a quiz master and you are charged with the responsibility of reading out the questions, pronunciation-wise, you must get it right, swiftly, correctly and then you’re also worrying about giving these four contestants the best experience - mahi nui. It’s a huge role."