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Simone Kessell

Actor [Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Pākehā]

Simone Kessell debuted as part-Māori, Australian-raised teenager Hannah Tumai, in 1992 soap Homeward Bound. After time in the fantasy lands of Hercules and Xena, the Aucklander's next big role was as a TV journalist on Cover Story. She went on to hit movie Stickmen and the starring role of a missionary-educated Māori woman in colonial TV drama Greenstone. Kessell has since worked largely in Australia (including hit Underbelly) and the United States (Terra Nova). In 2022 she was set to feature in two high profile productions at either end of the globe: Urewera raids movie Muru, and miniseries Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Just Chris and I went into a room with a video camera. We were in there for about two hours — we just worked it and worked it — and I knew I’d got it when I made Chris [Bailey] cry. Simone Kessell, on her final audition for TV series Greenstone