As the youngest of four kids and the only girl, proud Jerrinja and Wandi Wandiaan woman, Shahni Wellington, has always been a self-proclaimed ‘alpha’.
“I was a sassy, competitive kid with a sense of humour and a big family,” Shahni says.
Her push for success started from childhood. Whether she was being named dux of her primary school, or winning a scholarship to a private girls school (which she later ended up pulling out of), Shahni has had the drive to excel. She topped the state in Aboriginal studies and went on to achieve a Bachelor's degree in Communication from the University of Newcastle majoring in journalism and specialising in working with Aboriginal communities.
Growing up on the Central Coast, the pull towards home has always been strong for Shahni. She relocated to Sydney last year, but “I've managed to slowly crawl my way home after spending time working on Ngunnawal country as the political correspondent and in Darwin as a reporter on Larrakia land,” she says.
“I think being part of a strong community taught me resilience, appreciation for what really matters in life and the importance of being humble. I was brought up to be proud of my identity and I still feel like I'm growing up and learning every day.”
For Shahni telling the stories of her community is what keeps her passion alive.
“When it came to discussing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues and creating a platform for the stories of my own community, the words would pour. Our power, the challenges we face, and our deep history is something I am truly passionate about.”
And now as the new co-host of NITV’s news and current affairs program, The Point, Shahni will be able to take an in-depth look at stories that matter most to our communities.
As Shahni explains, this season of The Point will “centre the Blak perspective on all the latest news and current affairs. It will explore the light and the dark of what we're experiencing in these crazy times. It's going to be bold content, travelling to different communities to tell stories in the spirit that only we as Aboriginal people can do. We have some pretty sweet new graphics too!”
This won’t be Shahni’s first time as the host of a TV show. She also hosted Australia’s first Indigenous breakfast television show during NAIDOC 2020, by taking the helm of ‘Big Mob Brekky’. Being the face of an all Indigenous breakfast show made this a ground-breaking event on Australian television.
“It was something that I will forever be proud to have been a part of,” Shahni says of the experience. “Big Mob Brekky was a small insight to showing what we as NITV and an Aboriginal media organisation are capable of in any competitive market… We were carrying on the work of what other trailblazing First Nations media have done for decades and I hope to continue that legacy on The Point.”
As host of The Point, Shahni hopes to bring “a bit of who I am and my character to the show.”
“I believe in what NITV stands for and I want to give our communities the accountability and platform that they deserve.”
Rachael Hocking who previously co-hosted The Point with John Paul Janke will be finishing up at NITV in a couple of months to focus on family.
“I can't fill the massive shoes left by my sista girl Rachael but I can certainly bring my own pair and carry on the walk.” Shahni says. “I'm also hoping to keep JP on his toes and bring a little light and laughter to what will be a ripper season of The Point.“
The new season of The Point airs Tuesday, 16 March at 8.30pm on NITV.