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Friends of WeatherWatch: Jamie Mackay from the Farming Show

Every weekday lunch hour on most of the Radio Sport network you’ll hear Jamie Mackay’s dulcet tones talking farming, weather, politics – and just generally being an on-air nuisance.

The weekday show kicks off with an interview with head weather analyst Philip Duncan … which usually quickly goes downhill into a conversation about politics, social issues – or anything newsworthy (or not!).

While we mock – we also respect – without Jamie’s support our brand wouldn’t be so focal on Newstalk ZB…not only that many farmers across NZ now trust us due to Mr Mackays’s support….so thank’s Jamie….and we look forward to our next chat on air!

– WW

Next week: Labour Leader Andrew Little

1)  Where did you grow up and what are your best memories of the climate there back then?

 On a sheep farm at Riversdale in Southland.  My memories as a young  kid growing up in the 1960’s were of long dry summers (northern Southland is prone to summer dry) and of frosty winter mornings followed by brilliantly sunny days.  However, somehow we always seemed to get some snow when we were lambing in September.

2)  What’s the general message you’re getting from farmers about the weather this year across NZ?

It has been a bugger of a winter.  Either too wet or too dry!  Bloody El Nino has a lot to answer for.

3)  You interview forecasters from WeatherWatch, MetService and NIWA in your weekly radio show.  What do you like best about each organisation?

I learned long ago that weather forecasters are very territorial and can be somewhat bitchy towards one another.  So I’m going to plead the Fifth Amendment and say I love Georgina Griffiths, Chris Brandolino and Phil Duncan equally, even though Georgina scrubs up better than the latter two.

4) From your unique media and farming point of view, what’s an area *all* forecasters could improve in?

This sounds like sucking up but I think New Zealand is well served by the Met Service, NIWA and, of course, WeatherWatch.

5)  What’s the most memorable storm you were in?

I was on the periphery of it here in Dunedin, but it would have to be the big snow storm of September 2010 in Southland.  Not only did it flatten Stadium Southland but it also hammered farmers in the middle of lambing by bitterly blanketing the ground for more than a week.  It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime storm.

6)  Rumour has it that despite your love of all things alcohol, you’re also are a runner – and have run the New York Marathon.  Do the cold mornings down south toughen you up for something that tough?

You can add London and Boston to the list as well.  I’m not a morning person so I always trained later in the day.  London and Boston were April marathons which made them easier to train for (through a New Zealand summer) than New York which is in early November.  Having said that, you’ve got to be tough to run a marathon.  The last half hour really hurts!

7)  Is it true that Dom Boy – who produces your radio show – does the majority of the work?

Categorically no! I bear his rather generous weight upon my shoulders on a daily basis.  Put it this way, I love him like a brother but I’m the organ grinder in our relationship!

8)  It’s always fun having political debates with you – but regardless of if you’re left wing or right, do you think New Zealand is as clean as it was when you were a kid?

By dirtier, do you mean the political environment or the pristine environment? If you mean politics, John Key, Andrew Little and Winston are puppy dogs compared to Rob Muldoon , who was vicious and destroyed some people.  If you mean our environment, then unfortunately no.  I used to swim in the Mataura river as a kid and drink from my farm creek in the 1980’s when I was a young farmer starting out.  I would do neither now.

9)  What do you love most about your job?

I get to yarn to a whole lot of important and interesting people on a daily basis, who otherwise wouldn’t be bothered with me. That, and being able to host Farming Show Farming and Footy tours to South America, South Africa and to this year’s Rugby World Cup in England and Wales in October.


10)  Snow storms in winter can be fun – but when do they become a serious worry for farmers and growers?

The absolute worst time for a snow storm is in August or September when farmers are calving, lambing or trying to get crops in the ground.


– Exclusive


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