Tell us a little about yourself …
I was born in Napier, New Zealand, but I’ve also lived in Australia and the US. I’ve done lots of roles on different things over the years and ended up on Channel Seven’s 800 Words playing Zac. I was living in Auckland when I got the Home and Away role.
How did you feel at the time you got the call?
To be honest, although I felt the character was a very good fit for me, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to move to Australia. I love my country and was very happy with my life there. But I gave it a lot of thought and, in the end, I’m really glad I decided to come across and do it because it’s re-ignited my passion for the craft of acting.
Who did you meet first-up?
It was a whirlwind of people! I was walking down the hallway and there was Rohan (Nichol), Kestie (Morassi), Sam Frost, Courtney (Miller) and …everyone else on the first day!
We were introduced to your character in the season finale – when Ari became caught up in the hospital siege …
Yes, Ari finds himself challenged, with no money and an injury from a construction site, which is how he ended up in the hospital. He has come from a life of turbulence.
Is he hiding some secrets?
He definitely has quite a past.
You’d just been accepted into LA’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts when you got the call from Home and Away…
Yes, it changed my plans a little bit! I obviously wasn’t about to turn down an amazing opportunity such as this.
How have you settled in?
Everyone is really lovely. They’ve told me to chill out, relax and have fun.
Have you formed a close bond with Bree, Rob and Ethan, who play your mum and uncles?
Yes, and I feel really lucky to have started with them together. It’snice to be able to share the experience with other Kiwis!
What can you tell us about your character Nikau?
He’s a young guy trying to find his feet in a new place. And there may be some romance on the cards for him. Someone catches his eye pretty quickly!
Tell us a little about yourself …
I was born in Auckland but grew up in a small beach town. I knew I wanted to be an actor from the time I was about 4.
I wanted to marry Tom Selleck, but I also wanted to be Magnum PI! Fresh out of drama school, I did a lot of theatre and then got TV roles [in shows including Shortland Street] as well as in film.
What can you tell us about the Parata family?
They’ve come to the Bay to build a new life, but all they have is each other. They are hiding some pain.
And what about your character, Gemma?
She is Nikau’s mother, and Ari and Tane’s [sister-in-law]. Family is everything to her.
Do you share character traits?
We have a lot of irreverence in our culture – even in the dark times, there’s always room for a joke and a little bit of lightness. I’ve thrown a lot of that in there with Gemma. And we wear the same jeans! [Laughs]
Tell us about your character …
Tane is Ari’s younger brother and Nikau’s uncle. He’s very cheeky and quite rebellious. He’s a free spirit and doesn’t like anyone telling him what to do – especially Ari. But, deep down, he means well. All he wants is the best for his family.
Could romance be headed his way?
I think there’s every chance of that!
You were just about to graduate from NIDA when you landed the role. Was that a dream come true?
Absolutely! I was born and raised in a small town in New Zealand, but I was living in Sydney for NIDA when I got the part of Tane. This is my first TV role and I’m so grateful to be here.
For more, see this week's New Idea - out now!