Acting has been my passion since I saw Shakespeare's The Tempest at the age of seven. I feel so fortunate that I've been able to make it my profession. But along the twisty path of life, I've also done many other jobs. During school and university holidays in my homeland New Zealand, I worked in a bookshop, a plant nursery and a pub, waited tables in restaurants, cleaned hotel rooms and wheeled a tea-trolley, serving government employees. Between roles as a young actor in the capital Wellington, I was a casting assistant and a substitute teacher at a boys' college. Later I co-wrote plays for young people, directed theatre, produced radio drama and readings, and assessed screenplays for the New Zealand Film Commission.
Gradually I established myself as a leading stage actor – playing a wide variety of roles in theatre ensembles, as well as in film, TV and radio. I worked with many of New Zealand's top directors and actors.
I helped set up and run a theatre dedicated to local playwrighting and, together with Maori artist Roma Potiki, wrote a successful funding proposal which enabled the theatre to become bi-cultural: Taki Rua / The Depot.
An Arts Council supported trip to the UK alerted me to the dire need for more and better roles for women, so I gathered actress friends around my kitchen table and we founded the Equity Women's Caucus, and spent a year intensively lobbying.
Moving to Germany in 1991 proved a major shock, as I struggled to redefine myself in a new culture and language. I consoled myself by joining masterclasses, learning from brilliant teachers like Paul Gister from the Yale School of Drama, Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski and more recently LA acting coach Ivana Chubbuck. I taught New Zealand literature (plays and film) as a junior lecturer at Kiel University.
I wrote articles, and short stories which were broadcast on Radio New Zealand and BBC World. I scripted two screenplays: one won a European Script Fund New Writers' Award, both were optioned (which meant I got paid!), neither got made.
And I began working as an actor again, in Germany's best-beloved soap Lindenstrasse, in German and international films, and on stage. I set up Whitecloud Productions to produce plays and readings in Berlin. I get lots of work as a voice actor, my specialties are documentaries and audio guides – you can hear me in museums and historic places not only in Germany, also in France, Switzerland, Austria, the UK and Turkey.
What began as a casual job as an off-air announcer for Germany's international broadcaster DW TV has evolved into a second career strand. I did a 3 year part-time degree in advanced journalism at Berlin's Free University – and continue to freelance for DW as a news producer and reporter - sometimes even as a culture correspondent (check out the clips...)
Increasingly I'm also spending time in New Zealand, where I'm caretaker of a small swamp! - a coastal wetland which I'm restoring with the help of the regional council.