Jason Gunn has spent the bigger portion of his career lighting up television sets and now he’s got the radio airwaves buzzing.
The beloved entertainer doesn’t pull punches and tells it like it is, but with a true warmth and empathy that comes from a heart of gold. So it’s not surprising that Jason Gunn is turning his charitable hand to supporting Cholmondely Childrens Centre. We catch up with the son of a Gunn about his life in the limelight.
You have recently added ‘tech designer’ to your list of credentials, how did this come about?
The folk at Slingshot came to me with this amazing opportunity to design a modem – as in… the outside of the modem… I have no idea what goes on inside. So I got together with a professional designer (my original stick drawings were never gonna cut it) and we came up with my ‘piece of art’ which is all about ‘Staying Connected’ with friends and whanau.
Cholmondeley is a fantastic charity to align yourself with, why did you choose this one?
Cholmondeley is a magical place that does so much good for families in Canterbury. When things are tough at home, Cholmondeley allows kids to stay for a while so things can settle down and the kids can return to a happy home. They help families from all over Canterbury – the only problem is not enough of us know about Cholmondeley and they need our support to support these families.
How does it feel to get the opportunity to use your profile to support such good causes?
What’s the point of having any sort of ‘profile’ if you don’t do good with it? I see so many people out there trying to push their brand and profile just so they can get more free stuff and more money. The greatest feeling is giving back to others. And by giving to Cholmondeley you are giving to so many others.
You’ve also recently started a campaign to get Kiwi icon Thingee back on TV. It’s been 25 years, how much do you miss him?
I can’t start to explain how much I miss him. I am so over what so much of TV is about. All this unscripted reality is so ridiculously scripted and the furthest thing from reality. It dumbs us down!
Bringing Thingee back is all about clever, heartfelt, light-hearted entertainment that takes us back to simple times when we lived in the now a lot more.
You are one of the most recognised faces on New Zealand television. Why do you think New Zealand has connected so strongly with you?
Those are very kind words. I think I’ve just been me. I haven’t tried to be someone else. I don’t think I’m special in any way. I guess I connect well with people – I enjoy enabling others to shine.
I remember meeting a few big egos early on and thinking I never want to be like that. I’ve tried to stay relatable and I’m just like those people that watch me – I get so bloody excited if I meet someone actually famous and there’s always a drama going on somewhere in my life. As a parent there’s always a lot of balls in the air and like all parents you just want to spend as much time with your kids as you can. Family comes first.
It’s heading up to a year in April since you were joined by Jay-Jay in the afternoons from 3-7pm on MoreFM and it’s an amazing partnership! How has it been going?
JayJay is an incredible broadcaster. But more so she is amazing with her listeners and fans. When you walk down the street people come up to her all the time and she always stops to chat and makes them feel important. That’s a real gift. She’s very patient with my stories too and puts up with my hatred towards reality TV very well!
What have been some of your biggest standout career highlights?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet some well-known people – Prince Charles and Michael J Fox were highlights. I’ve travelled to some amazing places – we’ve broadcast live from Stewart Island, Universal Studios and Tokyo… But the real highlight is the New Zealanders I’ve met. The everyday people like me who just love living here and have a story to tell. And it’s a bloody good story! The visits to schools and I think the visits to hospitals are the two biggest highlights; being able to use your so called ‘profile’ for good. And trust me… things are very quickly put into respective when you are sitting with children in hospital!
What has the rest of 2019 got in store for you?
I am so excited to launch my new business www.jasegunn.com. I’ve talked about it for years and now I’m doing it. I want to teach others how to be at their best in front of an audience on stage, on camera and online. I’ve managed to somehow build a career on just saying a few words… and now I want to enable others to do the same. Email me! email@example.com.