The arrival of the new Parata clan marks a milestone for the Aussie soap. We talked to Home and Away actor Rob Kipa-Williams to find out more...
UK viewers will get their first proper look at the Paratas, the latest family to join Home and Away, when they arrive over the next few weeks.
As well as the usual Summer Bay mash up of family fights, romantic intrigues and mysterious secrets, the new family will bring something very special to the show - their Maori culture.
We’re about to get a sneak peak of Ari Parata - played by Rob Kipa-Williams - when the construction worker is taken hostage during this week’s dramatic hospital siege.
Joining Ari in the Bay will be his recently widowed sister-in-law Gemma Parata (Shortland Street’s Bree Peters), her son Nikau Parata (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) and Ari’s brother Tane Parata (Ethan Browne).
This is the first time that Home & Away has featured an indigenous family as regular characters.
New Zealander Rob told whatsontv.co.uk that the actors, who all have Maori heritage, were able to put their own stamp on the show by talking to producers about how to bring in glimpses of indigenous culture.
"The audience will experience not only slightly different accents but a cultural behaviour," explained Rob.
"We do things slightly differently and our humour is slightly different. You’ll notice a bit of a different vibe, which I think is nice. Every family brings a new vibe but we’ll be bringing a piece of culture with us."
There’s immediately a mystery hanging over the family, as Ari is suspiciously concerned about keeping his identity on the down low.
After heroically helping some of the hostages to safety, he slips away as soon as he sees the press are hanging around. Not only that, when he heads off to find his nephew Nikau, who has already turned up in the Bay, it’s clear there’s bad blood between them.
"Nikau is angry with his uncle because he blames him for something that happened in the past," hinted Rob.
"You don’t really find out about the family’s secret straight away. You start to see the complexities, how close they are and that they do love each other, but that it’s messed up with past trauma."
Ari reunites Nikau with his mum, Gemma, who is worried when he doesn’t reply to her texts. The last piece of the family jigsaw is Ari’s mysterious brother Tane. "But he doesn’t come on the show for a wee while," confirmed Rob.
When Rob - who previously starred in Aussie show 800 Words - joined the soap he left behind his home in New Zealand for Australia’s East Coast. But he revealed that his co-stars helped him settle in.
"You forget about some of the things that you take for granted like your family and your friends and the social environment when you move. I’ve become good mates with Kawakawa and Ethan, who play Nikau and Tane, and Bree, who plays Gemma.
"I get on well with everyone. They’re all great people to have in my life.”
Watch Home and Away every weekday at 1.15pm and 6pm on Channel 5
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