By LOUISA CLEAVE
Patricia Hewitt: Maureen Edwards
Patricia is a powerful older woman. In her 50s, Patricia is an accomplished surgeon and became one of the earliest female surgeons in New Zealand. Now a distinguished bureaucrat, Patricia will become the Shortland Street CEO in the new hospital structure. First impressions are formidable. She radiates authority: no-nonsense, confident, competent and without a doubt, Patricia wastes no time mincing words.
Judy Brownlee: Donogh Rees
Uncompromising and professional, Judy is an experienced senior nurse in her late 30s. Judy sets impossibly high standards for herself and others. She keeps her right-wing, racist attitudes at bay, knowing they can jeopardise her professional security in the insanely politically correct world of health.
She's not robo-nurse, however. She does exhibit a capacity for kindness, especially towards her patients and those learning the ropes.
Toni Thompson: Laura Hill
A good nurse, Toni (24) is socially gregarious. She makes friends and enemies easily and throws herself into the hurly-burly of a wild social life. Although a relentless party girl, Toni is also a commitment-phobe.
Adam Heywood: Leighton Cardno
Adam is a good-looking and high-achieving young doctor who escapes the stresses of professional and family life into the world of extreme sports. Adam (27) has had responsibility thrust on him early and is responsible for keeping his mother, Barbara, and younger brother Marshall.
Marshall Heywood: Paul Reid
Marshall is a rebel to peers and adults alike and especially fights against the discipline his brother tries to impose on him. Desperate to portray a bad-boy image, the 17-year-old works hard to look dishevelled. Despite these teenage tendencies, he is imaginative, artistic and highly creative.
Barbara Heywood: Annie Whittle
In her late 40s, going on 17, Barbara is a reluctant mother to Adam and Marshall. A fun-loving party girl, Barb is still seeking that special man.
Barb's appearance reveals a penchant for fluorescence and animal prints. Personality-wise, Barb is reluctant to relinquish her youth. Her two main weaknesses over the years have been bad boys and chardonnay, and that's not about to change. Her sons have different fathers.
These facts don't paint the most flattering picture of Barb but she has a heart of gold. She was a dedicated mother who saved hard to put Adam through med school and is incredibly proud of her doctor son.
Marshall, on the other hand, is her baby, to whom she is equally dedicated. Shortly after Adam takes up a position at Shortland Street, Barb spots a PA position at the clinic advertised, working for Adam's sexy new boss, Chris Warner. Barb applies, and why not?
Not just a pretty face, Barb's got an impressive resume and is a dynamo in the workplace. Watch this space.
Joe Hudson: Rawiri Paratene
Having grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, Joe is determined to prove himself a worthy husband to Tehana and a good father to Mihi and Tama.
Unskilled and unemployed at 39, Joe wants to be able to provide for his family and be a strong role-model to his son. Joe resents having to rely on brother-in-law Victor for support.
Tehana Hudson: Vanessa Rare
Victor's sister and registered nurse, Tehana is a strong Maori woman. Fiercely ambitious for her kids and determined to get ahead in the city, Tehana (31) is on a mission to achieve success for herself and her family on her terms.
Mihi Hudson: Quantrelle King
Mihi wants independence from the close supervision of her mother. Bright, vivacious and good-looking, the 16-year-old is ready to throw herself into the excitement offered by life in the big city.
Tama Hudson: David Wikaira-Paul
A natural athlete, Tama is more interested in hip-hop culture than the sporting ambitions his father holds for him. At 14, Tama has a roguish sense of humour, which he uses effectively to win friends and influence people.
By LOUISA CLEAVE