Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Meet Cook Islands Māori actor Dominic Ona-Ariki, star of One Lane Bridge

Alistar Kata caught up with Dominic Ona-Ariki, who stars alongside Joel Tobeck in TVNZ’s murder mystery One Lane Bridge.

The Cook Islands Māori actor plays a Cook Islands Māori detective who moves to rural Queenstown, and soon after becomes involved in a mysterious chain of events while investigating a possible homicide.

For Dominic, getting to play his real ethnicity was a surprise.

“Not many people know that I’m a Cook Islander, because the jobs that I have done are Māori, or when I was in Aussie I was a Tongan, or Samoan. But then when they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna make him a Cook Islander,’ I was like, ‘Ohh! That’s me, man!'”

Dominic has a range of credits to his name, including Shortland Street, Jonah, The Commons and feature film Savage, but One Lane Bridge has shown his chops as a leading man.

“To be in that position now where I’m in a lead role… that’s massive, man.”

The show premiered last month during New Zealand’s Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. While many artists had to stop working, Dominic took on a different kind of role, helping out at the Spark Arena food bank.

“It kind of makes sense that people would be in such a pickle in these hard times, you know, especially if you’re managing to just make ends meet.”

Watch the full story above.

One Lane Bridge is available to watch on TVNZ On Demand.

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