Tahei Simpson 'adorable and a little bit tragic' in new role

By Mahina Hurkmans

Tahei Simpson has been a familiar face on our screens, starring in films such as Whale Rider and Mataku. Now, she will be seen again in our homes with the new show 'I Date Rejects'.

Simpson says she has more than a little in common with her character 'Pania' on the show.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, she's really adorable but she's a little bit tragic. And then I realised, I'm like her and that means I too am adorable and a little bit tragic."

Simpson is one of the main characters on the new series by Paula Jones, which showcases many indigenous actors.

"She gave us a lot of leeway and she was able to just give us the right amount of guidance, without crushing our creative spirit," Simpson says of Jones.

Simpson says her whānau helped fine-tune her humour growing up. 

"My other brothers and sisters are the same, whenever you get more than one of them in the same place at one time you know it's a battle of wits. And God help you if you come unarmed."

She encourages all aspiring Māori actors to pursue this path and keep creating.

"We've had people who have now trodden the path and are winning Oscars and if we couldn't dream it before we can actually see the reality of it."

Her craft can be seen on the full season of 'I Date Rejects' which is available now.