Bond girl visits Rotorua

By Katie Holland

Rachel Grant is a big fan of New Zealanders - and not just because they helped her break into acting.

Grant, who played an assassin in 2002's Die Another Day, is in Rotorua promoting the 2013 charity diary Making a Difference.

The 35-year-old is an actress, television host, martial arts exponent, travel writer, rumoured crush of the Philippines President and a one-time body double for Angelina Jolie.

But Grant, who is half Filipino and half European - third cousin to Princes William and Harry no less - still devotes much of her time to her Philippines charity, the Padua Charitable Fund.

The diary created by Wellington's Wheldon Curzon-Hobson, which contains inspirational stories about New Zealanders doing great things across Asia Pacific, touched Grant enough for her to contribute 12 stories of her own.

"I had no idea - you guys are very charitable," she said.

"I was really impressed with what some of the New Zealanders are doing.

It's not just a case of raising money, these are people that are really hands on."

She said her first break on British television, hosting a sci-fi programme, came courtesy of New Zealand director Mark Staufer, while another Kiwi director, Lee Tamahori, gave her the career-defining Bond role.

Her next acting project is back with Staufer, as the lead in an e-book/movie project.

The New York-based actress loves travelling and knows much of it is possible thanks to her role in the Bond film.

"As an actress I've done many roles but obviously that's what I am most well known for," she said. "It's opened up a lot of opportunity to travel."

It also makes her a huge inspiration in the slums of the Philippines where she is looked up to as a "Hollywood star".

"I can make a huge difference because people look up to me. It's nice because I can see it gives them hope."

While here she is also writing an article for Travelife - one of Asia's leading travel magazines.

In Rotorua Grant will visit the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland and the Orakei Korako Caves as well as Paradise Valley Springs.

But she decided to give zorbing a miss. "I would love to do that but I get motion sickness."

Although not a huge adrenalin junkie, she is open to throwing herself off a bridge in Taupo, which is her next stop.

"I've always had a dream to do a bungy jump but I always have to have a rhyme and reason to do it, so I need a reason."

The Making a Difference 2013 diary is available to buy for $24.99 from

- Rotorua Daily Post

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