Spotted by a modelling agent while working in her father's coffee shop, South Auckland-raised Lana Coc-Kroft went on to win the New Zealand arm of Miss Universe in 1988. Already unsure about the longterm appeal of modelling, she appeared the following year on quiz show Sale of the Century, then in 1991 joined Phillip Leishman on Wheel of Fortune.
After taking elocution lessons — in one of her only pieces of feedback, an unnamed television staffer had critiqued her 'appalling' accent — she broke into presenting, after an audition tape impressed TVNZ executive John McCready. As a result she joined world surf champion Wendy Botha to host action-adventure series On the Edge. The show ran multiple seasons, and saw Coc-Kroft and the rest of an all-female team rafting, jumping from helicopters, and swimming with sharks.
On the Edge marked the first of many shows to feature a high adventure quotient: later came Across the Ditch, Can You Hackett, and in 2009 the local version of Who Dares Wins (co-presenting this time with Marc Ellis) . In April 2004 Coc-Kroft flew to Fiji to participate in Celebrity Treasure Island, having turned down the show the previous year.
While there she was infected by a coral cut in the ball of her left foot. The next morning she had "the worst migraine I had ever had", and her eyeballs felt on fire. "All I wanted to do was to get off the island". Flown to Auckland, she was diagnosed with rare blood-poisoning disease streptococcal toxic-shock syndrome, and came close to dying, before beginning six months of rehabilitation.
Coc-Kroft also survived more than eight seasons on Ric Salizzo hit SportsCafe, helping balance the show's sometimes unruly, largely male team (Leigh Hart, Marc Ellis, Graeme Hill et al). In 2003 she began work on a very different type of live gig: co-presenting live special Test the Nation, with newsreader Simon Dallow. The three-hour show, based on a highly successful international format, saw her testing the IQs of both the television audience and varied groups of New Zealanders.
Coc-Kroft has also joined truckers travelling around New Zealand for two On the Road documentaries, done extended air time on station 91ZM, and been a national spokesperson for World Vision.
Cath Bennett, 'Lana makes daring return to TV' (Interview) — Sunday News, 8 March 2009
Warren Gamble, 'Lara Coc-Kroft — comfortable in her own skin' (Interview) — The NZ Herald, 15 March 2003
'Lana Coc-Kroft' Sporting Contacts website. Accessed 23 July 2012
'Day by Day Lana's on the mend' — Woman's Day, 17 May 2004, page 7