John Campbell bids farewell to Breakfast during his last show

Source: 1News

There were lots of hugs as John Campbell bid Breakfast an emotional farewell on Friday morning.

"Breakfast is a team ... Breakast is made by a collaboration," Campbell said as he thanked the team and the viewers.

He said he's "proud" to have been part of the team.

The veteran broadcaster is embarking on a new role as TVNZ Chief Correspondent.

It was announced on Tuesday Campbell was leaving the show to be TVNZ's chief correspondent.

Campbell will tell stories across TVNZ's news and current affairs shows, on television and digital. He will also host a number of specials.

Kamahl Santamaria will join Breakfast alongside Jenny-May Clarkson, Matty McLean and Indira Stewart.

Campbell's Breakfast whānau farewelled him in a video tribute, with Clarkson, McLean and Stewart all thanking him for his friendship, mentorship and support over the last three years.

He smiled, laughed, and looked reflective throughout.

McLean said he would miss Campbell's hugs, Clarkson tried hard not to cry and Stewart even played My Heart Will Go On on the flute, to which Campbell looked astounded.

Campbell said at the end he wanted to look back as part of his farewell.

"When Carol Hirschfield and I first started saying 'kia ora good evening' on TV3 about 20 years ago, people said 'we will never watch TV3 again, how dare you say kia ora' and now you speak te reo on television everyday," he said, pointing to Clarkson.

"And I just think this is so great."

"I remember homosexual law reform in 1986 when men were told they couldn't love each other. Now our audience loves you and celebrates your engagement to Ryan," Campbell went on, with his hand on McLean's shoulder.

"I remember the Dawn Raids and the way we diminished a group of people and told them they were less than us and here you are on the TV," he said, pointing to Stewart.

"And I'm so proud of you. What you represent and how you tell us that otherness is no good and believing in yourself is a wonderful thing to do. I'm proud to be part of your team," Campbell reflected.

"Thank you all, thank you for watching and letting us into your homes each day. Take care. Lots of love from us all."

Kamahl Santamaria

Santamaria comes to TVNZ from Al Jazeera, having started his career at 3 News before heading overseas.

Santamaria returns to New Zealand after 20 years overseas, having presented news and current affairs in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, the United States and Middle East.

“20 years is a long time to be away, but it’s the challenge of Breakfast and three hours of live, on-your-feet broadcasting every morning which has brought me back."

He joins Breakfast in a few weeks.