Mag Events,Legend l by Tina Edward Gunawardhana l 20 Dec 2022     - 65

Making the News

Sri Lankan born New Zealander Ruwani Perera speaks with Features Editor Tina Edward Gunawardhana on her career as a news reporter which has spanned over three decades. 

Ruwani Perera possibly holds the distinction of being one of the first Sri Lankans to make a name for herself in journalism in her adopted country of New Zealand.. Like several other
Sri Lankans in the mid 70s, Ruwani’s parents joined the growing wave of migration and headed to New Zealand in
search of greener pastures. Ruwani was barely 4 years old when she left Sri Lanka. The youngest of three
children, Ruwani’s natural curiosity and way with words paved the way for a career in journalism.
She graduated with a MA in Political Studies and English and did further post graduate studies in Journalism. Her
career as a journalist has seen her interview the likes of Ricky Gervais, Matt le Blanc and Charlie Sheen.
Now Ruwani is focusing more on advocacy journalism and using her wealth of experience to help people relate
their stories.  A natural in front of the camera, Ruwani’s friendly demeanour and professionalism has earned her a legion of fans.

What swayed you to consider a career in the media?
I was always interested in writing and am naturally curious, so journalism appealed to me from a young age. Growing up I watched ‘The Mary Tyler Moore’ show and it gave me my first insight into news and the job of news gathering and reporting.

Can you share with us the training you underwent?
After my Master of Arts degree I tried to get into journalism, but in New Zealand it required a further qualification, so I did post-graduate studies in a Journalism course. I don’t believe journalism is something that can be taught. I believe some of the prerequisites to being a journalist are innate qualities like talking to people, an interest in a
variety of subject matter and an ability to write.

When did you first start out as a journalist?
During my training I was lucky enough to get a part-time job at New Zealand’s largest newspaper, that led to me getting opportunities to write. I graduated in 1999 and secured an internship at the country’s largest television network, Television
New Zealand.

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Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is the Deputy Editor of Hi!! Magazine. She writes on a variety of topics which include travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also a journalist for the Daily Mirror Life. An intrepid traveller, Tina likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno or email her at

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