Shortland Street star’s heartache over Commonwealth Games plaza

Shortland Street’s new doctor proves himself to the female population of Ferndale and he’s very effective in real life too.

Zak Martin, who plays Dr Rahu Parata, is a champion boxer who had high hopes of making it to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham until injury ended that ambition.

“To be honest, I was heartbroken because I had worked so hard to try to represent New Zealand,” he said.

Zak Martin is taking time off from his boxing career,


Zak Martin is taking time off from his boxing career,

Then fate intervened and he was asked to audition for Shortland Street. “Everything ended up going as it should.”

Rahu was first seen as a guest at his cousin Desdemona Schmidt’s (Kura Forrester) wedding to hospital computer whiz Damo Johnson (Grant Lobban) during Shortland Street’s 30th anniversary week.

The young doctor marked Esther Samuels (Ngahuia Piripi) and his return did not go unnoticed by the surgeon.

Two weeks later, Rahu returned, barging into Ferndale to bid farewell to Desi before leaving to take up a job at a Sydney hospital.

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However, unbeknownst to him, Desi – eager to keep his cousin close – alerts the authorities that he has a slew of unpaid traffic fines and he is pulled over at the airport and told he cannot leave Nova Scotia. Zeeland.

Rahu’s only alternative is to take a job in the pressured emergency service on Shortland Street.

Between his two appearances, Martin underwent wrist surgery, which means his boxing career – which has included major Golden Gloves wins in 2020 and 2021 – is on hold for some time.

“I can’t even punch for a few months, but I can’t wait to be able to train and help other people in the gym,” says Martin, adding that not only is his new job great, but it earns him points. With his mother.

“She has been a Shortland Street fanatic for years. I still remember watching daily when Sarah Potts (Amanda Billing) and TK (Ben Mitchell) were together and other characters like Libby Jeffries (Fleur Saville) and Toni Warner, who was played by Laura Hill, who is one writers’ heads here now. I would have been very young then.

Zak Martin's Rahu Parata does a haka on Shortland Street.


Zak Martin’s Rahu Parata does a haka on Shortland Street.

This is not his first stint in drama. Martin played a guy called Matt who had a line in an episode four years ago – and it was an experience that made a lasting impression.

“It really opened my eyes to the world of television. It was my first time playing on a professional set and looking back it’s pretty surreal,” says Martin, who only started playing after leaving Rangitoto College in Auckland.

“I always knew I wanted to act somehow, but I never had the confidence to take acting classes in high school.”

However, he has since pursued acting studies.

He had a role in the Maori-language drama Ahikroa, played an All Black in the mini-series Jonah, and worked on stage here and in Tasmania.

Martin has spent 2021 traveling the country with the Life Education Trust, giving performances to high school students on topics including underage drinking and financial literacy.

“It was one of the best things I’ve ever done – truly rewarding work – and I would recommend it to anyone just starting out in their acting career,” Martin said.

Now he hopes to make an impact as a Rahu who, while a bit of a prankster with a cavalier attitude to the rules at times, has a good heart.

“Slowly, over the weeks, I’m starting to get used to and feel a little more comfortable with Rahu as a character,” he says, admitting to sharing some similarities with the laid-back doctor.

“He’s very whnau oriented and that’s also one of my core values. I am who I am today thanks to my family.

“Rahu and I both have a love for tikanga and te reo Mori as well. I’m very grateful that my first scene in Shortland Street where Rahu was doing the haka to support my cousin. It was a beautiful moment for me. »

However, when it comes to Rahu’s impact on women, Martin laughs that he could probably learn a thing or two from his character in that department.

Shortland Street, TVNZ 2, weeknights

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