Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

Friends of WeatherWatch: Bill Ralston

Bill Ralston is no stranger to the world of media – his extensive career covers TV, radio, print and online.  Bill was the head of News and Current Affairs for TVNZ in the early 2000s and has worked on both major TV news networks.

In the New Zealand Listener each week you’ll find Bill’s colum –

Bill is also active on Twitter (@BillyRalston) – where he has shown tremendous support for our brand over the years, which we thank him for.

Our 10 questions and his 10 replies are below!

Next week – Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt

1)  Where did you grow up as a kid and what do you remember most about the climate then?

I grew up in Northcote on Auckland’s North Shore in the days before they built the harbour bridge. My memories of the weather are that summers were boiling hot and summer started in October/November and went through until March when it started bucketing down with rain. I think the seasons have moved, now you don’t really get summer weather until late December and the good weather lasts until well into April, even May.

2)  You’ve been involved in the news media for many years – over the decades what is your most memorable weather event from a news/work point of view?

I remember flying in a helicopter that was blown through some pine trees at Baring Head in Wellington, a freighter called the Pacific Charger had gone aground in a bad storm. The helicopter was shuddering and shaking and we barely made it back to the airport. Hairy. The Hawkes Bay floods in the early 1980s were spectacular.

3)  In your time in mainstream TV media what stood out most to you about the TV weather presenters working then?

The weather presenters in the olden days were pretty staid – until Jim Hickey showed up!

4)  These days, does anything make you cringe in current mainstream weather news journalism?

Not a lot makes me cringe and I really have a lot of faith in TV ONE’s Karen Olsen who is a trained metrologist. 

5)  You write a weekly column in the NZ Listener, you challenge politicians, the media and the public.  Where do you stand on the Climate Change issue – and should our government be doing more, less or the same to deal with it?

Mankind and his carbon are definitely heating the world up. There needs to be significant international political action – not the dallying around that we see at the moment.

6) In exactly 6 words describe your favourite season and why.

Summer at the Ocean Beach bach

7)  If you were unfortunate enough to be stuck on the tarmac on a fog grounded plane with two current NZ politicians on either side of you, who would you choose and why? Oh and two conditions: The PM can’t be one & one must be in govt, the other from an opposition party.

Bill English as the Finance Minister who is changing (for the better) the way we live and Andrew Little who could be the next PM.

8)  If you were to use the weather as an excuse to get out of doing something you didn’t want to do – what would that something most likely be?

Working. I am truly lazy.

9)  Do you have any advice for the small team at WeatherWatch?

Keep going, keep doing what you do so well.

10) Winter is here – so on a cold, wet, day in June what New Zealand summer location do you most like to dream about being in?

The bach we have at Ocean Beach near Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay. Bliss.



Guest on 26/06/2015 1:46am

So Bill.

Mankind and his Carbon are heating up the Planet eh!

You’ve been taking heed of far too much mainstream media I think.

West Coast on 26/06/2015 9:05pm

re global warming

check out


ps, did you know last year was the globes warmest on record and this year is on track to beat that

(due to El Nino (but which brings cooler temperatures to NZ)


Zelda Wynn on 25/06/2015 10:26pm

I too have memories of wonderful ocean beach. Trying to sleep as the pounding waves played in the background.

It was the first ocean beach I learnt to swim in. Was easy to sink.


Another great supporter for WW

Related Articles