Starting her screen career on Shortland Street, Samoan-born Frankie Adams was thrown in the deep end with a role as a troubled teenager. After four years she left the street in 2014, and headed overseas. In 2016 she landed a part as an aboriginal teen on Australian drama Wentworth, alongside Danielle Cormack, followed by an ongoing role on American sci-fi show The Expanse, as Polynesian marine Bobbie Draper. She also made her big screen debut, co-starring as Ilisa, a pregnant Samoan woman who returns home in One Thousand Ropes— the second feature from Orator writer/director Tusi Tumasese.
I’m not a trained actor, I like to keep it as natural as possible. Personally, if I put too much research into it, then I start to overthink it, which makes the performance less authentic. You can put in so much work, but you can never predict what happens on set... Frankie Adams, on website Lani Says, 8 May 2016
Mortal Engines is set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities roam the landscape, devouring everything in their path. Tom (Robert Sheehan, from TV's Misfits) lives in London, a 'predator' city built on digger-like tracks. After encountering a mysterious fugitive with murder in mind, he finds himself touching bare earth for the first time. Showcasing the eye-opening imagery of Weta Digital, Mortal Engines is based on a book by Brit Philip Reeve. It marks the first feature directed by Christian Rivers (short film Feeder). The Weta veteran began as a storyboard artist for Peter Jackson.
Writer/director Tusi Tamasese won multiple awards for his first feature, Samoan drama The Orator - O Le Tulafale. This New Zealand-set follow-up involves a Samoan father whose daughter Ilisa (Shortland Street's Frankie Adams) returns home, pregnant and badly beaten. Uelese Petaia (star of Albert Wendt adaptation Sons for the Return Home) is the boxer turned baker, in a tale of family, redemption and revenge. One Thousand Ropes debuted in the Panorama section of the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. The clip captures the recording of the movie's soundtrack in a Wellington chapel.
After showing she could definitely generate a headline from an interview (when she quizzed Bachelor winner Art Green on matters sexual, in a 2015 NZ Herald web series) Anika Moa got her own chat show on Māori Television in 2016. The couch interview format saw Moa interview guests and review media in her trademark candid style, from actors Cliff Curtis and Lucy Lawless to politician Chloe Swarbrick. Eleven 30-minute episodes were made for series one; a second series began in 2017. The series won praise for its fresh (non white male) perspective.
This daily after school show for young audiences covered celebrities, music, movies, sport, fashion and interviews. Content for the YouTube generation included cross-media segments like ‘Snackchat’ (make a meal in the Snapchat time limit), and ‘Hundy on a Mundy’ (viewers complete unpleasant tasks for prizes). It was made by Kiwi kids television powerhouse Whitebait TV for TV2. The show's presenters included Eve Palmer, Michael Lee, musician Massad Barakat-Devine and Adam Percival (What Now?). In 2016 it became The Adam and Eve Show, then shifted to ZM radio.
Possibly the longest-brewing wedding on Kiwi television was that of Shortland Street’s Chris Warner (Michael Galvin) and Rachel McKenna (Angela Bloomfield), in February 2014. Between them the couple had overcome stalkers, alcoholism, car crashes, bombs, brain damage, and a total of six prior marriages…but on this occasion there are no last minute objections to interrupt proceedings, just a firm answer to the decades long 'will they, won’t they?' question for the show’s golden couple. Only Grace (Lynette Forday), who is carrying Chris's baby, doesn’t look like she feels the love…
Since a spectacular truck crash just before the Christmas 1995 episode, the Shortland Street team have often pulled out the stops at Christmas time, and other special anniversaries. The 90 minute 20th anniversary special — which won acclaim in May 2012 — was no exception. Aside from Chris Warner being arrested for murder in his hospital bed, a dramatic helicopter crash injures Nurse Nicole Miller, a P addict is loose in the building, a heart has gone missing, and at least six former Shortlanders return. A fashion parade of old costumes from the clinic provides some light relief.
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.