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In the six months Roimata Ngatai has been at Shortland Street hospital, she has spent a lot of time crying. And actress Shavaughn Ruakere who plays the forlorn character, couldn’t be happier about it.
Having fought her attraction to Dr TK Samuels (Ben Mitchell) for as long as she could, Roimata finally gave in to temptation, only to discover that TK’s ex-wife, Dr Sarah Potts (Amanda Billing), is now pregnant with his child, causing distress from all angles.
“Roimata really has had a rough time of it since she decided to commit to TK,” says Ruakere. “Playing such a range of emotions over such a short time has been quite a challenge. With Shortland Street being my first professional acting gig since presenting, being thrown in the deep end and learning how to channel such a wide variety of feeling so quickly has been a fantastic learning curve for me.”
This week on the show, Roimata gets thrown another curve ball which sees her having to grapple with another range of emotional responses altogether. And while Ruakere can’t say much about what the curve ball will be, she does think audiences will be shocked by the outcome.
“It’s fair to say that TK makes a relatively big decision about his future with either Sarah or Roimata,” the actress says. “And no matter the outcome, you can guarantee that there will be stunned reactions from all involved.”
Ruakere’s role was initially only slated to last for six months, but Ruakere’s portrayal of the character soon opened up a raft of possibilities for the Shortland Street storyliners, and she was offered a long-term position.
“It’s great to know that Roimata is going to be around for a while,” says Ruakere. “I feel quite protective of her now that I have worked with the role for a while, and I know that she has lots of exciting storylines to come.”
Not only has Ruakere hit the ground running with a major storyline, but she has also landed a major role in the upcoming Shortland Street winter one-hour ad campaign, which will be seen on air in early May.
“The whole shoot took two days and looks amazing,” she says. “However it required a whole new raft of emotions to play the character for a promo without dialogue, so it was also a great learning experience as well. You learn new techniques every day on this show!”
Missed an episode of Shortland Street? Full episodes are available online. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘Ondemand’ button.