When Stacey Morrison was a kid growing up in Christchurch, she would often hear people whispering as they walked by – “That’s James Daniels’ daughter”.
Back then, her dad was the radio star and Stacey never imagined following in his footsteps. “It was a pain in my butt growing up that Dad was famous,” she admits. “It was probably when I got to intermediate school that he was well known and then it became quite a big deal.”
These days, James is more likely to get people saying, “That’s Stacey Morrison’s father”. She is the one with the higher profile, presenting a drive-time show on The Hits, writing books and making podcasts, as well as having a television career. And while she didn’t much enjoy her father’s fame as a kid, looking back, he did help inspire her future career.
“I grew up around radio,” she explains. “And I realised that working in the industry was a possibility, people like me could do it. Other young kids coming in might have been wowed by the studio and the whole environment, but to me it was very normal.”
While he thinks his daughter’s success is very cool, James isn’t at all surprised by it. “She always had talent,” he says. “She was articulate, creative, a good singer and dancer, and she starred in school productions, so it made sense that she got into some sort of performance or entertainment.”
Now aged 66, Stacey’s dad has made a surprise comeback, giving up his work in local politics to host Afternoons on Newstalk ZB alongside Simon Barnett. “I didn’t see this coming,” admits James, who also presents a morning show on Coast Christchurch. “I thought I was on a pathway to retirement. But you have to be open to change and take opportunities.”
The father-and-daughter broadcasters have a close relationship, although Stacey admits it’s not perfect by any means. Like any family, they’ve been through tough times. James was still a teenager when he married her mother Sue and they had their babies young. He was working as an accounts clerk at the Department of Maori Affairs and they lived with Sue’s parents until managing to scrape together enough money for a deposit on their own home.
“I worked a couple of extra jobs but it wasn’t easy,” tells James. “There’s no doubt about it, we struggled.”
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