A Kiwi musical theatre star has taken the leap from the stage to the mic with immediate success on the reality television show The Voice Australia.

Napier-born and raised Akina Maria Edmonds, who goes by Akina Maria on the show, has already had a more than 10-year career in musical theatre in New Zealand and Australia, before she decided to enter Season 8 of the Australian version of a show where contestants sing in blind auditions, against each other and in live shows.

"I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone into a very public and exposing place,

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