We're about to see more than ever before of award-winning actress Miriama McDowell — she's just come off the back of several filming projects and three of them are set to launch in a week.
The actress, director and intimacy co-ordinator won the Best Actress Award at last year's NZTV Awards for her role in the critically acclaimed series, Head High. She will reprise her role as police officer and rugby mother Renee O'Kane when the second series launches early next month on Three.
In the same week, she'll also feature in the new season of Ahikāroa which will screen on Māori TV.
And finally, the leading lady will star in thriller Coming Home in the Dark, which also stars Erik Thomson, of Packed to the Rafters and 800 Words fame, when it releases in cinemas on August 12.
"I loved coming back to play Renee again," McDowell tells Spy.
"It felt like a big family reunion where you see all your cousins' kids after a couple of years and they've all got bigger. You don't have to love rugby to love the concept of Head High. At its heart it's a beautiful drama series about a family that everyone can relate to and see a bit of themselves in.
"For me the multiculturalism of the family and the entire cast is significant. I want my kids and their friends to see themselves reflected on TV, and Head High is doing that."
McDowell, who took a well-deserved holiday in Rarotonga recently, says the joy of her job is making new friendships with people she works with.
"There's no way to avoid that when you work so intensely for such long hours every day. Erik is so warm and connected as a human, I felt like I'd known him a long time. I laugh when I look at photos we took on the first day and the last day of the shoot, we were so wrecked by the end of it."
McDowell will also star as the young Whina Cooper in the movie Whina, which is set to launch later in the year.
The busy 42-year-old solo mother of two young daughters agrees that it's been a very busy year, but she wouldn't have it any other way.
"I always acknowledge to my kids that every job I do, they are working as hard as I am to make it work in our lives. With Coming Home In The Dark I was away on location for six weeks so my eldest had a lot of time away from me."
"In Head High, the 5:30am starts are really disruptive to the puna/school routine and some mornings I'd have no choice but to bring Hero in to sit in the makeup chair until some more acceptable hour when someone could come pick her up and take her to puna.
"I don't know if my mahi has made my kids into very sociable, adaptable kids, or I'm just lucky that they are that way. Either way, it's a combo of cool kids and cool friends and family that mean I get to be an actor."