Photo / Jeremy Greive
By Kerry Harvey, Stuff
Home and Away star Jacqui Purvis felt the eyes of New Zealand were on her when her character Felicity Newman finally wed Tane Parata (Ethan Browne).
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” the Australian actor says, of delivering her te reo Māori vows to her Wairoa-raised co-star.
“There was a lot of pressure for me personally. Acting-wise I was just like, ‘I’m going to embarrass myself. All these Kiwis are going to think I’ve butchered their lovely language.’ ”
But the angst was well worth it.
“I was just really grateful and lucky that I got the chance to do it,” Purvis says. “The cultural adviser coached me through it and taught me the language and how to say it all properly. It took a lot of hours.
“Unfortunately, we only got a few takes to do it because we didn’t have the time and it was about to rain.
“We only got two takes and I stuffed up the first one and I was so annoyed because I made so many mistakes.”
Happily, the second time was the charm and the scene went without a hitch.
Jacqui Purvis, who plays Felicity on Home and Away, says her character’s wedding to Tane (Ethan Browne) was “very spiritual and so beautiful to be a part of it”. Photo / Jeremy Greive
“It’ll be a moment I’ll probably never forget,” Purvis says. “It was very spiritual and so beautiful to be a part of it.”
Several members of Sydney’s huge Māori community were enlisted to help make the wedding uniquely Kiwi.
“The writers did such an amazing job involving all those aspects,” Purvis says. “And again, I just learned so much. I had no idea about how it all worked so it was just really cool.”
“It was definitely a different day on set. There were lots of smiles; this feeling of, ‘Oh my god, we’re actually doing this. We’re doing something really, really interesting, really cool, really exciting – something we should be proud of.’
“Sometimes, work is a bit of a slog or it’s really intense but then when you have a day like that, it makes it so worth it. You know you’re doing something special.”
Felicity and Tane were meant to marry in a traditional country wedding in the 2022 cliffhanger but, true-to-form for most Summer Bay nuptials, disaster struck when a gang member sabotaged the brakes on the ute taking the bride and her best friend Eden (Stephanie) to the ceremony.
The car crashed into a service station and burst into flames with the bride trapped in the passenger seat. While Tane managed to rescue her, Felicity was traumatised and ended their relationship.
She went on to hit the bottle heavily before deciding to give Tane – and marriage – a second chance.
Felicity (Jacqui Purvis) admits that although she loved her wedding to Tane (Ethan Browne) on Home and Away, their first “non-wedding” which involved a car crash was even more fun to film. “The car crash wins every time,” she says, “because I’m an action fiend.” Photo / Jeremy Greive
Purvis says filming that first not-quite wedding was totally different – and, on a personal level, surpassed even her Māori wedding.
“The car crash wins every time because I’m an action fiend,” she confesses. “I just love my crazy, crazy drama. It was, again, one of those things that you would never do in real life.
“And we get to play. So it’s just the most fun you could ever have. Like, I was in a burning car with a real fire.
“The stunties had to take over because it was too dangerous. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie so I was absolutely loving life on that day.”
Although Tane (Ethan Browne) and Felicity (Jacqui Purvis), seen here at their wedding on Home and Away, were told there would be a happy ending, Purvis always had her doubts, “You don’t believe it until you’re filming,” she says, “because anything can happen.” Photo / Jeremy Greive
Purvis says while the writers had always told her the couple would get their happy ending, she had doubts right up until the wedding actually happened.
“There’s always that thing on this job. You don’t believe it until you’re filming because anything can happen. They can change the script last minute. They do and you get thrown a new script to learn at 7am,” she says.
“There’s so many things that can change so even though I knew and I had been told, there was just this little thing in the back of my head that this could still change.”
So what is next for the newlyweds after they return from their honeymoon in New Zealand?
“To be honest, married life is pretty good for Tane and Felicity. It’s going to be nice and chill for a while,” Purvis says.
“They’re in a really good place at the moment. They’ve had their drama with the car crash and now they’re settling into their married life and working out where each other is in this wonderful time in their lives, just reconnecting and rekindling that love for each other and feeling safe with one another.
“After that? Well, it’s Summer Bay ... so we shall see.”