From 2013 to 2015, KJ Apa played sporty young Kane Jenkins on Shortland Street. The model — with no prior acting experience — used the show to launch a screen career. After performing in sci fi family drama Cul de Sac, he got a US break, acting as a teen quarterback with Dennis Quaid in feature A Dog's Purpose. He also scored a lead role as Archie in Riverdale — a dark US TV take on the classic Archie comics.
Coming from New Zealand and playing just an iconic American character, I was nervous ... The fans are so aggressive. I was thinking, ‘Man I hope I don’t get too much stick from these guys.’ The feedback has been really well, really good. So, I’m really pleased with it. Apa talking about playing Archie, at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, Emertainment Monthly
Shortland Street is a fast-paced serial drama set in an inner city Auckland hospital. The long-running South Pacific Pictures production is based around the births, deaths and marriages of the hospital's staff and patients. It screens on TVNZ’s TV2 network five days a week. In 2017 the show was set to celebrate its 25th anniversary, making it New Zealand’s longest running drama by far. Characters and lines from the show have entered the culture — starting with “you’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata!” in the very first episode. Mihi Murray writes about Shortland Street here.