Ria Vandervis

Actor

Ria Vandervis grew up in Dunedin, before completing a major in acting at Unitec in Auckland. Moving to Australia after a spell as a Power Rangers villain, she won a recurring role on the second season of Packed To The Rafters, and on police drama Cops LAC. Returning to New Zealand she continued to act in law enforcement; she was Detective Christie Mills in Harry, TV3's acclaimed police drama. Shortland Street's Doctor Harper Whitley was her next role, in 2013. The character initially appeared as best friend of fan favourite Sarah Potts, and continues to be a regular on the series — including doing time as hospital CEO.

It was terrifying. You get chucked in the deep end. We shoot an episode a day, so you've got 20 minutes to do a scene. You just try try get your words right and hit the mark. Ria Vandervis, on the pressures of acting in Shortland Street, to the Otago Daily Times, 18 June 2013