Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Keisha stars as breadwinner

Keisha Castle-Hughes. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Keisha Castle-Hughes. Photo / Herald on Sunday

She's an Academy Award-nominated actress, he's a plasterer.

And even though they have broken up, Keisha Castle-Hughes is playing breadwinner for the child she and former partner Bradley Hull are raising.

The Whale Rider star is paying child support to Hull to help with the upbringing of their 4-year-old daughter.

The 21-year-old actress was pictured at the Mt Eden Department of Work and Income office in March this year.

She was sitting in the waiting room reading a pamphlet entitled "Help with childcare costs. A guide for parents and caregivers."

Her boyfriend Michael Graves, said: "She does pay child support because Bradley is the main caregiver. I can confirm she is not on a benefit, she is working full time," he said.

Castle-Hughes is in hot demand, with three films out this year, and two more in the next six months, and a role in The Almighty Johnsons on TV.

She is working on Auckland Theatre Company's The End of the Golden Weather, which will run at the Maidment Theatre from September 1 to 24.

In happier times Castle-Hughes and Hull were pictured in a women's magazine with their daughter.

Keisha became pregnant at the age of 16 while playing the Virgin Mary. But the couple split in June last year after seven years together.

Castle-Hughes declined to discuss her role as breadwinner this week.

"I'm not going to divulge my personal financial business," she said. "I'm working full time ... I've had three films come out this year and two more coming out in the next six months and I'm doing a play at the moment."

Parenting author Eric Mooij said Castle-Hughes was a very modern role model for supporting her daughter financially.

He said: "It's a sign of the times that successful young mothers like Keisha are returning to the workforce. I think it's great that she is out there working and supporting her family."

The latest Statistics New Zealand figures show working women still earn substantially less than men on average - but the gap is closing. In 2010, the average weekly income for men was $573, and for women, $370.

A year earlier, men made $562 on average compared with $354 for women.

Castle-Hughes has recovered from a battle with alcohol last year.

In March, she was led away from an Auckland nightclub in handcuffs after a bar fight - she said someone had recognised her at the Pony Club in Customs St and made a derogatory remark about Whale Rider.

- Herald on Sunday

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