Much like Ponsonby Road on a sunny day, Shortland Street is heaving with celebrities. Alex Casey looks back at some of the more memorable cameos. //
Guardian of Our Small Claims Galaxy Kevin Milne
Talk about the merging of two iconic New Zealand television worlds! In 1996, Nick Harrison appeared on Fair Go with legendary host Kevin Milne within an episode of Shortland Street. After running a series of dodgy money making deals, Nick was busted on primetime TV by the Milne-meister.
Mothers of the Nation Helen Clark & Jenny Shipley
It’s not as if Shortland Street needed approval from our future leaders, but in 1996, we got just that. Jenny Shipley and Helen Clarke, both in pre-Prime Minister mode, appeared in an episode where beloved receptionist Marj Neilson made her heroic exit into politics. Visiting the Beehive to begin her life as an M.P., what a special treat to get three of New Zealand’s most powerful women in the same place. Might as well be our own Charlie’s Angels: Clark. Shipley. Marj.
Our National Angel Rachel Hunter
Long before her accent went batshit crazy, the Pantene was flowing as Rachel Hunter swung by the Shortland Street set in a totally casual appearance. Approaching reception and asking for change for the parking meter, Hunter immediately gets shunned by Marj. Shutting her down with the assertion and wit of a future M.P., Marj tells the supermodel that “this is a hospital not a bank.” A tip top cameo.
2008 All Star Celebrity Line-Up
When the small golden-skinned man Kieran Mitchell decided to open The IV Central, aka the hottest new spot in Ferndale, he invited the best celebrity talent in town to attend. The opening night featured the ‘who’s who’ of Ferndale, which actually meant anyone vaguely famous in Auckland with a few hours to spare. Socialite and Treasure Island alumni Aja Rock was there in a fetching white fur stole, whilst boxing legend Shane Cameron brooded next to the bar. Just when you thought the celeb meter was about to explode, enter the Madhouse of JJ, Mike and Dom stage left. A fabulous night to remember, that could have only been improved with a sprinkling of Norrie Montgomery to top off festivities.
Hip Hop Legend Savage
Savage where the cameo at? In a touching episode, Nurse Aroha Reed seeks talent counsel in the church of Savage, who has been admitted to Shortland Street for doing too much swinging whilst drinking moonshine, or something. Harbouring a secret passion for singing, Nurse Aroha rearranges the nursing schedule so she can get one on one time with Demetrius Savelio, or Savage to his closer friends. Pretty good run to have New Zealand’s second-most notable Savage on the show. Michael Joseph missed out by just a few short decades.
The Late Great Paul Holmes
In a surreal turn of events, Paul Holmes rocks onto the Street as actor Leslie Grant, an experienced member of The Ferndale Amateur Dramatic Society. This cameo comes from absolutely nowhere, and is the perfect Easter stunt event. Upon his theatrical introduction, it is left ambiguous as to whether Holmes is playing a man who is playing the role of a woman (Lady Bracknell Importance of Being Ernest), or playing a man who always dresses as a woman, or is indeed just playing a woman.
It’s a performance for the ages, with Holmes swooping completely out of the blue like some born-again Lawrence Olivier. He tells the fellow performers “this Lady B stands up to pee”, which sort of answers some of my initial questions but not really. At half time of their opening night performance, Leslie locks himself in the dressing room, and then headbutts himself into a concussion against the door. Yvonne is forced to play the part of Lady Bracknell, and brings down the house. It’s an Easter miracle for the ages.
Fashion/Advice Royalty Pebbles Hooper & Denise L’Estrange Corbet
This sneaky wee cameo featured a fleeting scene featuring celebrity tablet artist Pebbles Hooper as the personal stylist to a Korean popstar. Her fashion designer mother (and partner in Canvas agony aunt crime) Denise L’Estrange-Corbet also followed suit in her own Shorty cameo. Jasmine and Ula visited a World fashion show for a school trip (flash school alert) and are followed by Nicole and Lana – who wish to meet their fashion muse Denise. After much schmoozing, they get into the venue and face to face with her. The blurring of the real and the fake continues. What a World.
Our Favourite Heroic All Blacks
In totally incidental timing with the launch of the Rugby World Cup 2011, Jerome Kaino, Anthony Boric and Keven Mealamu arrived to visit the children’s ward at Shortland Street. In a typically evil move, Brooke Freeman double parked their car in (after they stole her park). You don’t mess with the AB’s like that without the rugby gods smiting you, and Brooke instantly dropped her own keys down the drain. Taking pity on Brooke, the AB’s (with the random and unnecessary assistance of Evan Cooper) LIFT HER CAR INTO THE AIR using their scrum techniques, and then head right off to their first game against Samoa. Just another day.
International Music Superstar Ed Sheeran
The biggest international cameo appearance on Shortland Street is also the weirdest and most inexplicable. At least it’s somewhat plausible that Rachel Hunter could be swinging by in the off-season for some parking change. But Ed Sheeran rocking up, playing a guitar and throwing down a few “bro’s”? Madness. If you haven’t seen it, please enjoy:
Bumping into Kane in the back of the IV, Ed appeared in May 2014 in time for the launch of his album X. He encourages Kane to pursue his musical dreams like a magical red-headed genie boy. “Anyway, I should probably get going,” Ed Sheeran says – mere moments after arriving. Just like that, he is gone – leaving Kane (and the audience) in a slow-zoom contemplative state of ‘wtf’.