Newshub star Laura Tupou’s whirlwind birth


She had just one day to prepare!

It’s 9am on a Thursday and Laura Tupou is breathing a sigh of relief. After almost three weeks isolating at home as COVID swept through her young family, the broadcaster has just dropped her two-year-old Amalia back at daycare.

“It’s been a long haul,” admits Laura as she settles down at her kitchen table to chat with Woman’s Day over Zoom. Her partner Andrew Patterson, an associate dean at the University of Auckland business school, hands baby Ava to her as he heads to the home office to begin his day.

Lifting the adorable five-month-old up to the camera, the TV star coos, “Say hi, Ava! She’s been such a lovely addition to our family.

As well as coping with a newborn, the family all had COVID. “It’s been pretty full-on,” says Laura.

“Getting used to having two has been quite full on, but she’s chill, quiet and goes with the flow, which is just as well really!”

It’s been a huge few months for journalist Laura, 32. Not only has the Tongan talent become a mum of two with the arrival of Ava on 13 December, but she has also landed her dream job as Newshub Live At 6pm’s weekend newsreader alongside Tom McRae. While she doesn’t officially start the role until Matariki weekend on 25 June, Laura has been filling in over the past few weeks and loves the prime-time experience.

“I still have to pinch myself,” she says. “I was definitely nervous at the start, but I’m lucky to have Tom next to me because he’s really helped me learn the ropes.”

Laura and Andrew couldn’t be happier with their chilled out baby girl.

However, as most mums will attest, the logistics of returning to work with two small humans at home has taken some juggling. Baby Ava made it clear on her mum’s first night back that she wasn’t a fan of formula, so Laura is now on a serious pumping regime to ensure the freezer is full of breastmilk. While Andrew is able to cover the evenings, Laura’s sister Krissy has also stepped in to help at times, flying up from her home in Christchurch to lend a hand.

Laura smiles as she recalls Ava’s arrival. Typically for someone who thrives on deadlines, Laura had left much of the baby preparation to the last minute. So when her planned Caesarean section was brought forward by several days, she and Andrew, 37, had just one day to get organised.

“It was a whirlwind!” she recalls. “We had to drive all over Auckland to get nappies, breast pads, wet wipes, a chest of drawers… We washed all the baby clothes, packed my bag and got Amalia sorted for staying with my sister. It was a massive day.”

Big sister Amalia loves cuddles with Ava.

The next morning, Laura and Andrew farewelled Amalia and headed to the hospital to welcome their new arrival. “I was feeling ready and super-excited,” tells Laura. But on the drive there, she became surprisingly emotional.

“I started crying, which is unlike me, but it hit me how major this was for Amalia. I was like, ‘She won’t get as much attention any more. Have we done the right thing?’ which was ridiculous because it was
a bit late for that! But Andrew was really good. He said, ‘It’s going to be great. She’s going to have a best friend for life.'”

And he was right – Amalia has embraced her big-sister role. “I was expecting some drama, but it’s been very easy so far,” smiles Laura. “She just adores Ava. She’s always at my side, rushing up with her stool at the changing table to help. She gives her so many cuddles and kisses. It’s pretty sweet and I love watching their relationship – it’s so special already.”

Sharing the news desk with Tom is a dream.

Laura says her second-born has been an easy addition from the get-go. As one of six, Laura has always been unfazed by the idea of a big family, yet she says it’s been interesting to see how her mindset has changed since having Ava. Routines have gone out the window, and she and Andrew have become “much more chilled”.

She explains, “I let things wash over me now. I don’t need to have the dishes done or the floor vacuumed after every spill – those things really aren’t important. The first time around, I was very strict about sleep patterns, but now, it’s more whatever works. You have to be flexible when there’s a toddler in the house. We’ve had to juggle jobs, daycare, COVID… It’s been pretty full-on.”

It’s six weeks since Laura tested positive for the virus and despite doing her best to avoid passing it on, baby Ava came down with symptoms a few days later. Andrew was the next to catch it, followed closely by Amalia. While Andrew was the worst hit, the girls had just mild cold symptoms. For Laura, it was the tiredness that knocked her for six.

“When you have kids, you’re always tired, but with COVID, it was a different kind of exhaustion,” she explains. “When I had a nap, I was just out of it. I’d wake up three hours later and be like, ‘What just happened?!'”

The hardest part, though, was keeping their energetic toddler occupied without being able to go out.

“She’s a very active kid, so we’re always down at the park or off on walks. Staying at home was hard, so she was stoked to get back to daycare.”

And Amalia is just as excited as anyone by her mum’s flash new job on the 6pm news. On her first night, Andrew sat down with the girls to watch and Amalia could hardly believe her eyes, tells Laura.

“When she saw me the next morning, Amalia was so excited, saying, ‘I saw you! I saw you on the TV! You were wearing a purple dress and lipstick!'”

As a proud Pasifika woman, Laura hopes she will inspire others to follow her path and aim for the top. “Who I am and where I come from is a huge part of why I chose to get into media,” she says.

“It’s about representation. I can shine a light on stories that might not have been getting told. I used to love seeing people like Carol Hirschfeld and April Ieremia on screen.

“People message me all the time saying they’re so proud of me for doing it, so whatever I can do to help is worth it. It’s so great to see more and more Pasifika people in TV. It’s really awesome.”

As she looks to the year ahead, Laura is simply excited to watch her children grow.

“We’ve had a lot of change in the last few years, so 2022 is about enjoying our time together. That’s what COVID has taught us – to cherish the time we have with our children. It’s so important seeing them grow and being there for all their milestones.”

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