Jennifer Ward-lealand


Actor, director, passionate champion of te reo Māori, New Zealander of the Year 2020, intimacy co-ordinator, tireless advocate for the performing arts… when does Jennifer Ward-lealand ever rest? The answer is when she retreats to her island bach – but even then, not entirely… Where’s your favourite summer place to escape to and why? Jennifer:

It’s always Waiheke Island, where I hunker down in our little bach and barely leave the bay.

What special memories/associatio­ns does this place have for you? Jennifer:

The reserve at the end of our road was a pine forest, and over the past 10 years it has been transforme­d into native bush by an extraordin­ary bunch of volunteers. When the boys [sons Cameron and Jack] were little, they were so upset when the pines went, but I promised there would be a full forest again in their lifetimes. The boys learning to kayak down at the bay is something I will always remember. she was a kitten. She loves a bush walk and thankfully is scared of birds.

She literally purrs from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave – at which time I’m not her favourite person.

Vincent O’malley’s The New Zealand Wars, along with Auē by Becky Manawatu. For listening it will be my staples of [news podcast] The Daily,

The New Yorker Radio Hour, Reasons to be Cheerful, and whatever new podcasts take my fancy – though usually about some unscrupulo­us person being justifiabl­y taken down.

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