Jenny May Clarkson

  • Presenter
  • Broadcaster
  • MC

Jenny May Clarkson has walked a unique path to her current role as TVNZ Breakfast host – from elite athlete, to police officer to sports journalist – and that's part of what makes her such a special broadcaster.

At a time in many people’s lives where they might be eyeing up a slower pace, Jenny May’s schedule as a presenter, as well as wife and mother, continues at breakneck speed!

Throughout her career, Jenny May has been a Silver Fern, an NZ touch representative, a police officer, sports commentator and television host. She names her biggest challenge yet as taking on a primary role at Breakfast during the middle of a worldwide pandemic - however her extensive live sport commentating background primed her brilliantly for the demands of the job.

Jenny May was the youngest of six children raised by Waka and Paddy Coffin in Piopio, nestled between the Waitomo Caves and the Taranaki Coast. As she grew up, Jenny May developed a keen interest in - and flair for - netball, and by 1997, she had made the national side the Silver Ferns, and was named vice-captain in 2001. But this wasn't before enrolling in police training in 1994, and working as a policewoman.

Jenny May wrapped up her national career in 2002 – though she did continue playing for domestic team Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic until 2004. She also represented the country in NZ Women’s Touch from 2000 to 2002.

Jenny May first became involved in live netball commentary in 2003 during the Netball World Championships; this led to her working as a journalist for 1 Sport and as a presenter on the 1 NEWS sports desk, as well as reporting work at Maori Television.

During this time, as her career went from strength to strength, in her late 30s Jenny-May took a year off work to embrace her Maori heritage - learning te reo in a one-year total immersion course.

Shortly after this, she met her husband Dean Clarkson (they became engaged after nine days!), and Jenny May embarked on another completely new phase of life as a parent – to twin boys! In 2016 the couple welcomed their sons Te Manahau and Atawhai, who are now very busy primary-school boys. Jenny May speaks te reo with them at home, so they can grow up proud of their heritage and whakapapa.

Between all her commitments, Jenny May finds time to advocate for mental health issues, a cause close to her heart. To maintain wellness in the midst of her hectic schedule, she swears by cross-fit five times a week, as well as ocean swims.

Jenny May has been hosting on the MC circuit for a number of years, and is always a hit with audiences due to her down-to-earth charm and complete professionalism.


Foodstuffs was absolutely delighted with Jenny May – she was so personable, so professional and a delight to work with. They are already talking about booking her for another job in the near future -Foodstuffs