At the beginning of the year Reuben Milner could walk through the streets of Whangarei without anybody looking twice.

But since being on Shortland Street, the guy you may know better as "Jack Hannah" is starting to make waves in the acting world.

Milner, an 18-year-old from Maunu, fell in love with acting at Whangarei Boys' High School, where his teacher, Robert Pollock, taught him all kinds of valuable techniques.

He knew acting was what he wanted to do. He got more involved, was in three plays, and was a part of a YouTube show The 'Rei' and even now is constantly learning at Whangarei Youth Theatre, when he is not in Auckland on set. He even has an agent.


Being a prefect at Whangarei Boys' was another type of acting for Milner. "I'm not really a bossy person. I'm not the type of person to growl at people."

Meeting actor Jonny Moffat, of the Massive Company, has proved to be of great help for Milner and was instrumental in getting him on Shortland Street.

Despite being on one of New Zealand's longest running TV shows, Milner is still humble. "I don't think I'm inspirational ... I just started out like any other person."

Having originally auditioned for the part of Kane Jenkins, Milner's audition tape was archived and he got the call-up for the role of Jack Hannah in February.

The character of Jack is a First XV rugby player for Ferndale High - and was a chance that Milner jumped at.

The character was originally going to appear on the show for just a few episodes, but Milner's contract just kept being extended and Jack is now battling the subject of teen sexuality.

"When I heard the news (he would be appearing for longer than first thought) I was like, wow, this is amazing. I loved it. It's another step up for my acting." Frankie Adams, who plays Ula Levi, told Milner that his character turning gay was a great opportunity for him.

"A lot of teens these days are confused, they think that if you're gay you can't do other things like play sports, or be in the First XV team because they think they'll be dissed but that's part of the point," Milner said.

"When you're gay you don't have to seclude yourself. You can do whatever you want."

Milner lives in Whangarei and commutes to Auckland whenever he gets the call-up to shoot one of his scenes.

"When I go down there it makes me want to come back up here more."

Milner and Robbie Evison, who plays Toby on Shortland Street, have become good friends. When the pair were walking through Whangarei a while ago, they were spotted by fans of the show. Evison was immediately recognised as "Toby" but Milner was referred to as "that other guy". That is bound to change with Milner's character now a more prominent feature.

Before Shortland Street, Milner had plans to head to Los Angeles and join the masses of other acting hopefuls trying out for the new TV shows, but that's on hold - for now. "I realise I've still got a lot of work to do."