News anchor Wendy wings in for charity

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The Six O’Clock News didn’t line up for the Melbourne Cup but it did get to a Queenstown fundraiser based around the race.

TV One news anchor Wendy Petrie winged in to co-host Rotary’s Melbourne Cup do on Tuesday – and also for a little family R&R.

But not for extreme adventure, Petrie says: “A pregnant lady with three- and five-year-olds is not exactly going to throw herself off a bridge.”

Despite fronting the country’s most-watched news bulletin for almost four years, Petrie says she doesn’t attract the stares her co-presenter Simon Dallow does.

“He stands out at six foot five whereas I’m more dolled-up [on TV] with lipstick and a jacket.”

Petrie swapped Tuesday’s news bulletin for Queens­town’s Melbourne Cup gig at Prime at the invitation of “old friend” – Rotarian Chris Campbell, organiser of the annual fundraiser for Queenstown Primary and Wakatipu Youth Trust.

She recalls flatting with Campbell in Auckland as a student, when the Queenstowner was a TV programme director, in a house full of media types – another flatmate was Arrowtown-raised Hamish Wilson, who later married broadcaster Petra Bagust.

“We had the best parties,” Petrie recalls, due to the availability of film equip-ment like smoke machines.
Partying is also how she best remembers Queens­town, mainly during winter.

“When I was young we’d ski all day here, have a few drinks at night and stumble home to a motel.”

She confesses she was “never really gifted as a skier” and changed to snowboarding while working as a broadcaster for three years in Toronto, Canada.