She is only 21, but Aki Munroe is making a name for herself in the local acting industry.
The Auckland actor was 17 when she scored her first television role as Shortland Street’s Rangimarie Rameka, the daughter of Te Rongopai Rameka (Kim Garrett).
Since then, she has appeared in Ahikāroa, The Brokenwood Mysteries and Vegas.
In the new season of Kura, a local comedy about a group of young people living in the South Auckland suburb of Papakura, she plays the opinionated Laura ‘Po’ Walters.
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“I don’t live out south,” says Munroe. “I was brought up on the North Shore but the environment and the show kind of reminds me of where I grew up. It’s like a sense of community.”
As a child, Munroe showed a talent for acting and was raised in an environment where performing was encouraged.
“My dad is a very musical person,” she says. “He was always playing old-school music on his radio or playing the guitar.
“I was brought up with that aspect of it and also being around family members… we all just love singing.
“It kind of just formed into this thing where every Christmas my brother and I would put on a little performance for our family.
“He would play the ukulele or the guitar and I would sing or do this little dance and performance.
“I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I liked the attention but I really liked showcasing and just being loud and funny and weird.”
“I think my grandparents had noticed that from a young age and said, ‘We should put her in these little drama classes’.”
Munroe attended drama classes and she went on to take part in theatre shows before landing a role on Shortland Street.
“That was the first television experience I’d had,” she says.
“They call Shortland Street a well-oiled machine. It’s fast turnaround. It’s very quick. I learnt a lot.”
Four years later, Munroe is surprised when people recognise her from the role.
“It’s just amazing how many people remember you from that,” she says.
Such is Munroe’s love for performing, that she even has the name Jim Carrey, one of her favourite actors, tattooed on her arm.
“The reason I have this is because I really enjoy his work,” she says. “A lot of people associate him with being this crazy, goofy guy and all that, but I really admire his work.
“I think he is so creative and such a smart performer. He’s done such great work, even in his more serious films as well. He’s a versatile actor.”
Kura, streaming on TVNZ+