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Why Sam Wallace put his TV career on hold for his family

Sam Wallace is a co-presenter of Ten 7: Aotearoa (TVNZ 2, Thursday) with Senior Detective Sergeant Rob Lemoto. A former children’s television presenter and Breakfast weather presenter, he co-hosts a breakfast radio show on Coast FM with Toni Street and Jason Reeves. Wallace and his wife Sarah have three young children – a son aged three and 18-month-old twin daughters.

How is Ten 7: Aotearoa different from Police Ten 7?

It’s breathing new life into a classic in New Zealand. That’s what we’re trying to do. The name Ten 7: Aotearoa, it’s more significant and people are kind of cottoning on, so I think in its stories, in its history, a lot of it was based around Auckland. Now the show is featuring far more stories from around New Zealand.

Did you watch a lot of Police Ten 7 in your own time?

Yes, it’s a cheeky show. Because even if you don’t endeavor to watch Ten 7, what happens is, Ten 7 comes on and you get the start of that first criminal doing something stupid and then you can’t turn it off. I think so many people are accidental fans of the show just because you can’t stop watching it.

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Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

I was a relatively good young person and I passed the police check for Ten 7. I think there are few minor driving indiscretions from when I was younger but apart from that I’m pretty clean.

Who is your favorite police officer television character?

You’d have to go back to CHiPs. As a kid, CHiPs was my jam. They were two motorcycle cops. Those guys were about as cool as they get.

Sam Wallace says moving to a morning radio job after working on TV was “a wonderful adjustment”.


Sam Wallace says moving to a morning radio job after working on TV was “a wonderful adjustment”.

Hypothetically speaking, if you were a police officer, what sort of police officer do you think you’d be?

I think I would endeavor to be a patient one and I think I would lose my patience with people very quickly. I’d be a real grumpy old cop.

Your main job is on the radio. Do you do much TV these days?

I pulled out of it (TV work) to be honest. With three kids, Coast radio is amazing. I went from Breakfast weather, where I was traveling around the country and freezing cold and standing in the rain the whole time, to (being) parked up with Toni Street and Jason Reeves in a warm studio. That was a wonderful adjustment. Originally, there were some weather shifts, and I was doing Seven Sharp and Good As Gold but it was just too much with my young kids. But now the girls are 18 months I have some more time, so I put my hat back in the ring and got this amazing opportunity to be part of a prime-time show which rates its socks off.

How would your friends describe you in three words?

I think they would say ‘determined, fun and loyal’.

What has fatherhood taught you?


What is the secret to getting a good night’s sleep or am I asking the wrong person?

You tell me. We don’t sleep any more. It’s been the longest day of our lives since the girls were born. It’s been 18 months awake. Nah, we’re actually doing a bit better now. That’s why I’ve got myself back into television because we are kind of coming out the other side of what’s a really hard… with twins and a toddler, it’s full noise. Don’t get me wrong, we’re enjoying every moment of it. It’s amazing. It’s brilliant. You just wish there were two of you.

Off-road racing and riding his 10-speed bike are two of life's passions for Sam Wallace.


Off-road racing and riding his 10-speed bike are two of life’s passions for Sam Wallace.

What is your favorite way to relax?

I don’t really get a lot of time to relax. I haven’t done it for three months, but I race an off-roader, so off-road racing. So it’s either off-road racing or exercising. So I’ll be out on my 10-speed bike pedaling up North Head or roaring across the dune at about a thousand miles per hour.

Sam Wallace loves:

  • Artificial grass: Our yard has been muddy for two years. Every time we put a kid outside, they get completely muddy in four seconds and then we’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, so annoying’. We just did our whole yard in artificial grass. Everyone told us not to do it but it’s the best thing we’ve ever done in our lives.
  • Mulled wine: Mulled wine in winter is one of the greatest smells in the house.

  • Our people mover: I’ve always been a complete motorhead. The fact that I’m saying a people mover is a very surprising thing. We have a car with a sliding door and we can push a double pram into the back of the boot and when you have three kids (a people mover) is the greatest purchase we ever made.

Sam Wallace hates:

  • Substitutions in online shopping orders: It’s the most irritating thing in the world. For example, you go to order some cat food and they give you dog chews. I don’t even have a dog.
  • The constant push away from cars: I respect the bus lane, I respect a cycleway, but just make the roads work as well because people with three kids need the roads… People with three kids are very unlikely to take a bus.

  • The crime situation at the moment in New Zealand. Just the other day our local dairy was broken into… and the other day there was a gunman down our road. It’s out of hand.

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