Former Shortland Street star Jarod Rawiri is joining The Brokenwood Mysteries, internationally NZ's most successful show.
Watched in 18 territories worldwide by audiences in the millions, the show is now in its seventh season and set to launch on Acorn TV in America and Canada at the end of March. It will also move from Prime to a new home on TVNZ 1 later in the year.
Rawiri is playing Detective Constable Daniel Chalmers, replacing Nic Sampson's character Detective Constable Sam Breen, who heads off on a sabbatical in the series. This storyline was created because Sampson was scheduled to head back for work commitments to the UK, where he lives with his fiancee.
"My character is charming by name and nature," Rawiri tells Spy.
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"Coming into the seventh season, I guess I'm kind of mirroring how it is for my character, coming into a team that is already well established and that has made several seasons of a great show," he says.
"I'm easing my way in, trying to stay cool about hanging out with all these amazing people. Everyone has been so wonderful and welcoming, even though I split my costume pants on day three of filming and caused utter chaos to the wardrobe department."
Lead actress Fern Sutherland was sad to see Sampson go.
"Can't begrudge Nic for wanting to rejoin the love of his life in England. We were all so gutted to lose him because he's been there from the start, but also so happy for him and his cool new projects," says Sutherland.
"I feel so lucky in general with the cast because we all genuinely enjoy each other's company and still find each other hilarious after seven seasons," she says.
Rawiri charmed Sutherland straight away.
"Jarod slotted straight in, like he'd been there all along," she said. "He was also super supportive on the days when I felt like I was doing a terrible job. He's just really encouraging and cares a lot about everyone in the cast and crew on a personal level. Crucially, he can handle the fact I enjoy making fun of him because I'm a ratbag," she says.