Celebs and their side ventures

Spy News,
Publish Date
Thursday, 4 May 2017, 11:06PM
Shaun Johnson, Nadine Higgins and Jeremy Wells. Photos / Instagram
Shaun Johnson, Nadine Higgins and Jeremy Wells. Photos / Instagram

Whether they're borne out of financial necessity, boredom or an entrepreneurial spirit, many Kiwi stars have business ventures outside of the work for which they’re famous.

We look at the celebrities who have their fingers in a few different pies.

Nadine Higgins

Last weekend, broadcaster Nadine Higgins (formerly Chalmers-Ross) dipped her toes into the food truck business with the launch of her own little breakfast tuckshop, Yeah Naan. (No prizes for guessing what they serve.)

Higgins claimed the idea for her team’s food truck was first dreamed up three years ago, with the last eight months spent planning and preparing the venture for its Cox’s Bay Reserve debut.

"Come down and see us for breakfast," Higgins told her Instagram followers on Saturday, looking pretty pleased with life away from breakfast telly.



Shane Cortese

Given property prices in Auckland over the last few years, it's little wonder real estate has been a popular side venture for plenty of local celebs.

Actor Shane Cortese is just the latest famous face to get his real estate agent licence, with plans to join New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty (NZSIR).

Cortese says the new job will allow him to continue that notoriously fickle business of acting in New Zealand.

"I didn't just jump into [real estate]," he said. "There has been a lot of thought gone into this decision and I’m very excited about it."

Cortese follows Sally Ridge, who recently joined the Bayleys team in Ponsonby, Jayne Kiely, who works at Ray White Remuera these days, and former newsreader Hamish McKay, who is selling real estate through Bayleys in St Heliers (with a few MC gigs on the side). 


A post shared by Sally Ridge (@sallyridge) on Nov 24, 2016 at 10:55pm PST


Jeremy Wells

Just in case he wasn’t busy enough with his broadcasting and commercial work, Hauraki breakfast host Jeremy Wells is also a co-owner of Bedford Soda and Liquor, the meatballs and fancy beverage outfit which now boasts two Auckland locations.

Wells and his business partners, Sam Ansley and Matt Nicholls, based Bedford on the neighbourhood bars they took a liking to while visiting New York.


A post shared by Jeremy Wells (@jeremywells77) on Apr 6, 2017 at 9:26pm PDT


Oliver Driver

Actor and director Oliver Driver is also able to add 'bar owner' to his CV, with the three bars he co-owns in Ponsonby.

Harry was the first to open, with George and Jack following soon after. All three establishments are found under the same Ponsonby roof.

Joe Naufahu

He might be famous internationally for his role as Khal Moro on smash hit series Game of Thrones, however much of actor Joe Naufahu’s time is spent at his Ludus Magnus gym, a favourite amongst New Zealand’s A List.

Reality TV stars, All Blacks and Warriors have all been known to train at Naufahu’s gym, which is about to find itself even deeper in the public eye with the launch of Maori TV's new show, School of Training.

The series will see eight personal trainers battling it out to be the best, with a job at Ludus Magnus on the line for the winner.


A post shared by Joe Naufahu (@joenaufahu) on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:08pm PDT


Erin Simpson

When she's not busy with TV hosting and other media obligations, Erin Simpson is toiling away at her artwork.

The former host of The Erin Simpson Show has prints on sale in a variety of establishments and also sells her Kiwiana artwork on items such as clocks and fridge magnets.


A post shared by Erin Simpson (@erinsimpson13) on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:03am PDT


Shaun Johnson

He may not be in David Beckham’s league (yet), but Warriors star Shaun Johnson has been doing his best to make his own splash in the world of fashion off the field.

He launched his own clothing line, SJ Shaun Johnson, late last year, with his caps proving particularly popular.

The line also includes shirts, tees and shorts – and Johnson models all of it. Obviously.


A post shared by Shaun Johnson (@shaun_johnson90) on Nov 11, 2016 at 10:03pm PST


Brendon McCullum

He hasn’t hung up his cricket bat just yet, but when he does, we’re sure Brendon McCullum has big plans for his race horse business.

The former Black Caps captain started up a company by the name of Vermair a few years ago, which manages a number of race horses for dozens of investors.

The company is named after McCullum's three children, Riley, Maya and Evie.



Sam Neill

When he's not acting, Sam Neill is on a mission to produce world-class pinot noir.

His Two Paddocks wine business in Central Otago has been in operation since the mid '90s. While Neill originally set out to make a wine that his friends and family might enjoy, his vineyards now produce five different pinot noir (and some riesling).



And he's not the only famous Kiwi with a business affiliation with wine.

Retiree Paul Henry may not own a vineyard, but he has released two vintages of Paul Henry Pinot Noir through Invivo.

Wine seller Glengarry's servers crashed when Henry’s first vintage was released late last year. The former broadcaster told Spy in March that he hoped people were actually enjoying his wine "and not just buying it for the novelty factor".