Shorty cast of 1992: Where are they now?

Author
Joanna Hunkin,
Section
Spy News,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 24 May 2017, 5:27PM

For many, 1992 will be remembered as the year Clinton became president, Charles and Di split and Bosnia Herzogovina declared independence, sparking a three-year war.

But here in New Zealand it will be remembered as the year Shortland Street was born, becoming our first enduring local drama.

While initial reviews weren't great, it wasn't long before Shorty became appointment viewing for Kiwis and the stars became household names.

Here, we look back at the original cast of the 1992 premiere and find out just whether there is life after Shorty.

• Read more: Martin Henderson returns to Shortland Street

Karl Burnett (Nick Harrison), Michael Galvin (Chris Warner) and Andrew Binns (Steve Mills)

Karl Burnett: Nick Harrison

Karl Burnett was just 15 when he joined the cast of Shortland Street, remaining part of the cast for 13 years as Nick Harrison. In 2005, he left the soap - later returning to train as a boom operator on set. He went on to work as a motoring journalist and produced his own film Captain Amazingly Incredible and the Space Vampires from the Evil Planet. Despite the catchy name, the film wasn't a success. Distributed by Arkles Entertainment, it was reportedly their worst-selling release on record.

Michael Galvin: Chris Warner

Is there life after Shortland Street? Michael Galvin has yet to find out. Despite leaving in 1996 and moving to London, Galvin returned in 2000 and has been a permanent fixture ever since. This year saw Galvin become a viral sensation when he uttered the now infamous line: "Please tell me that is not your penis." After that career high, things aren't looking so good for Galvin, with writers reportedly plotting a serious illness for his character, which may or may not be terminal.

Andrew Binns: Steve Mills

Part of the original cast, nurse Steve Mills met a fiery end in 1994 when he died in an exploding car, alongside Sam's wife T.P. Played by Andrew Binns (who also goes by the name Andrew Robertt), Binns has continued to act, playing various supporting roles in local productions. Most recently, he starred in the Amazon Prime series American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, which was filmed in NZ.

Rene Naufahu (Sam Aleni), Danielle Cormack (Alison Raynor) and Adrian Keeling (Tom Neilson)

Rene Naufahu: Sam Aleni

Rene Naufahu left Shortland Street in 1996 enjoying a successful acting career, starring in both local and international productions, including small roles in two of the Matrix trilogy films. In 2014, he earned international acclaim for his feature debut The Last Saint, which he wrote and directed. However, this year saw Naufahu hit headlines for the wrong reasons, when he was named as the Kiwi actor charged with 14 counts of indecent assault and two charges of sexual violation against six women. A trial is set to take place in September this year.

Danielle Cormack: Alison Raynor

The most successful female graduate of Shortland Street's class of 92, Danielle Cormack left the soap in 1993 and has gone on to become one of Australia's most prolific actors, carrying the lead role in the hugely successful Wentworth, as well as star turns in Rake and Underbelly: Razor.

Adrian Keeling: Tom Neilson

Father of Stuart and husband of Marj, Tom Neilson (played by Adrian Keeling) only lasted a year on the Street before he left his family and eventually died of a heart attack. Off-screen, Keeling continued to act sporadically, landing minor roles in local productions. Now aged 76, Keeling is still listed with talent agency Auckland Actors.

Maggie Harper (Jenny Harrison), Stephanie Wilkin (Meredith Fleming) and Nancy Brunning (Jaki Manu)

Maggie Harper: Jenny Harrison

By the time Maggie Harper left Shortland Street in 1998, she was just one of two original cast members still working on the soap. Harper went on to become a qualified counsellor and Feldenkrais practitioner (a teaching method that uses movement to function). These days, she specialises in grief, trauma and relationship counselling, based in Grey Lynn.

Stephanie Wilkin: Dr Meredith Fleming

Stephanie Wilkin played Dr Meredith Fleming for two years, before riding into the sunset with her partner Annie (the Street's first lesbian storyline) in 1994. These days she runs acting workshops at Artworks Theatre on Waiheke Island

Nancy Brunning: Jaki Manu

Nancy Brunning spent two years on Shortland Street as nurse Jaki Manu, before forging a successful career as both an actor and playwright. In 1999, she was named best actress at the NZ Film Awards for her role in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted and was nominated again in 2009 for Strength of Water. In 2015, she debuted her first play, Hikoi, at the Auckland Arts Festival.

Paul Gittins (Michael McKenna), Lisa Crittenden (Carrie Burton) and Temuera Morrison (Hone Ropata).

Paul Gittins: Dr Michael McKenna

Father of Rachel, Michael McKenna was the original CEO of Shortland Street, played by Paul Gittins. After leaving Shortland Street in 1995, he went on to star in the locally produced US series Xena and Hercules, as well as starring in local dramas City Life and Harry and hosting the factual series Epitaph and Shipwreck.

Acting clearly runs in the blood, with Gittins' son Calum (whose mother Philippa Boyens co-wrote Lord of the Rings) later joining Shortland Street as Jake Valentine.

Temuera Morrison: Dr Hone Ropata

Arguably the biggest star to graduate from Shortland Street, Temuera Morrison left the soap opera in 1995, after earning critical acclaim for his lead role in Once Were Warriors. He went on to land roles in major Hollywood productions including Speed 2: Cruise Control and Star Wars, while regularly returning home to feature in local productions, including River Queen and Mt Zion. In 2005, New Zealand on Air funded his own chat show - The Tem Show - before Hone Ropata returned to Shortland Street in 2008. These days, Morrison is still hard at work in Hollywood, having featured in the recent Disney hit Moana and set to appear in the upcoming blockbuster Aquaman.

Lisa Crittenden: Carrie Burton

She was the fearsome head nurse, famous for reprimanding doctors, nurses and patients alike. In 1995, having mothered triplets (via a sperm donation from Chris Warner) Carrie Burton fled to Australia to escape her husband Declan's criminal associates.

In real life, actress Lisa Crittenden - who is an Aussie - followed suit, returning to Australia with her husband and children. In 2006, it was reported that she was working as the personal assistant to the chief executive of Australia Post. Recent attempts to contact Crittenden have been unsuccessful.

Elizabeth McRae (Marj Neilson), Martin Henderson (Stuart Neilson) and Josephine Davison (Gina Rossi-Dodds)

Elizabeth McRae: Marjorie Neilson

Also returning to the Street tonight is 80-year-old Elizabeth McRae, who plays Marj. The octogenarian is still an active member of New Zealand's theatre, film and television community, recently starring in The Brokenwood Mysteries. In 2006 she was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for her services to theatre.

Martin Henderson: Stuart Neilson

With brooding looks to rival Luke Perry, Henderson was Shortland Street's original teen heartthrob. In 1992, NZ Herald critic Barry Shaw wrote: "If Shortland Street was an American soap, Henderson would be a superstar by now". In 1995, he left to realise that potential, heading to Australia before eventually landing in Hollywood. While his list of film and television credits is impressive - including The Ring, Bride and Prejudice and Grey's Anatomy - the highlight for any young Shorty fan was undoubtedly when Henderson appeared opposite Britney Spears in her steamy music video for Toxic. Tonight, hearts will once again be set aflutter as Henderson returns to the Street for the official 25th anniversary special. See TimeOut for our exclusive interview.

Josephine Davison: Gina Rossi-Dodds

After three years playing Gina, Josephine Davison left Shortland Street in 1995. She continues to have a successful career in both theatre and screen, starring in several local productions including Outrageous Fortune, City Life and Orange Roughies.

Angela Dotchin as receptionist Kirsty Knight on the set of Shortland Street in 1992.

Angela Dotchin: Kirsty Knight

After six years as receptionist Kirsty Knight, Angela Dotchin went on to star in Young Hercules and Lawless. After splitting with her long-term partner Temuera Morrison, Dotchin left New Zealand for Britain, quitting acting in the process. In 2015, it was reported she was enjoying a glamorous life, travelling across Europe and working in the fashion industry.