Tributes to radio stalwart on final day on air

Radio New Zealand's Morning Report stalwart Geoff Robinson has had his last day on air filled with tributes following more than 30 years in journalism.

Robinson joined the NZBC in Dunedin in 1970 after emigrating from Britain in 1965 and working in banking.

He joined the Morning Report team in 1975 when the programme was introduced and, apart from three years reading news on the then commercial network, has been there ever since.

A special tribute show on RNZ today included audio from Robinson's foray on Morning Report, when he filled in for a colleague on June 6, 1975.

Robinson announced his retirement last November, telling listeners he chose today's date for his last day as it is the report programme's 39th birthday, "we started on the first of April, 1975".

"Apart from a couple of years reading the commercial news, I've been with the report programme all the way through."

Veteran radio reviewer Clark Isaacs described Robinson on the programme today as a consistent performer who had been "affable [and] even-handed" throughout his broadcasting career.

Robinson's co-host Simon Mercep said RNZ had received hundreds of emails commemorating Robinson since he announced his retirement.

"Dear Geoff Robinson, for thousands of hours of enlightenment, entertainment and above all, an even-handed approach to everything, we are very grateful," an email from listened Gordon Cooper read.

"Best wishes for your retirement Geoff, I don't know what I shall do in the mornings now. Thank you for the best mornings a person could have, you will certainly be sorely missed by a multitude of listeners, all the best, " Joanne Jenkin wrote.

"Thank you Geoff for setting the highest benchmark of New Zealand journalism, your professionalism, equanimity, and the high regard shown to all of those you speak with or report on is a privilege for listeners to share," another email read.

Robinson described the tributes as "very humbling" and a tribute to receive.

His retirement was past of a larger shake-up of the national broadcaster.

Mercep is also due to step down from the show, moving to a revamped afternoon show and current host Jim Mora joins Mary Wilson on evening show Checkpoint.

Auckland-based Guyon Espiner will Robinson on Morning Report and will be joined by Wellington journalist Susie Ferguson.

In 2005 Robinson was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature by Victoria University of Wellington.

He was also was given a special award for outstanding contribution to radio in New Zealand at the 2007 New Zealand Radio Awards.

- Brendan Manning of APNZ

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