Irena Smith has been working as a journalist since 2003.

She has a passion for reporting Māori affairs which was recognised in her early days by veteran broadcaster Whai Ngata.

Mr Ngata, the then Head of Māori programmes at TVNZ, encouraged her to study journalism at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua, and promptly hired her for Te Karere after she graduated from the course.

In 2005, Irena moved over to Māori Television's news programme Te Kaea for a four-and-a-half year stint, before returning to Te Karere in 2009.

She has recently returned to the Auckland head office after her role as Te Karere's polical reporter in Wellington.

Some of Irena's career highlights includes covering the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the 2007 Touch World Cup in South Africa, and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.