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From New Zealand To Clovelly – Zoe Cramond

By Dan Hutton on June 22, 2011 in People

Photo: Georgie Gavaghan

During the month The Beast caught up with Packed to the Rafters’ newest local star, Zoe Cramond…


Where are you originally from?

I’m from Papamoa, which is in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand and I’m also from Waihi as well. I kind of went between the two.

Where’s Waihi?

Waihi is just another little small surf town, same as Papamoa.

Where’s the nearest big city?

Auckland is about three hours away.

Where are you living these days?

I’m living in Clovelly – little old Cloey.

What brought you from New Zealand to Clovelly?

Well, I got a job on Packed to the Rafters so I moved for the job. We first moved to North Bondi, which was fun, and then decided we wanted somewhere that was close to a bit of surf and a little bit quieter.

What attracted you to the Eastern Suburbs rather than elsewhere?

I just love the vibe. The cliff walk is so cool, the surf’s fun and the people are really relaxed, and it’s cool being able to drive to work and then come home and be so close to the beach. I’m sure the Northern Beaches would be awesome and I love it up there but it’s just so far away and there are all the road tolls and all that stuff too.

Is it true that you dragged your boyfriend out across the ditch with you?

I did drag him over, poor man.

Was he happy to come or was he dragged kicking and screaming?

I didn’t know he was coming until the week before I left so it was very last minute.

Did he drop everything and come?

Yeah, he did.

What a romantic…

I know, romance, pretty cool.

You mentioned that you surf, how long have you been surfing for?

Since I was about 14. I learnt at Waihi Beach with my best friend. We learnt together and we were always the chicks with all the surfer guys.

Do you have a favourite surfer?

I grew up watching Andy Irons and he was my favourite, which is pretty sad what happened to him. Andy and Kelly Slater are probably my favourites.

Did you know that a New Zealander, Billy Stairmand, beat Kelly Slater over at Margaret River this year?

Yeah, I know, how cool is that?

Do you have any favourite local haunts around the Eastern Suburbs?

I love that little organic shop on Gould Street in Bondi. That’s an awesome little place. I can’t remember the name of it but they do amazing food and it’s really healthy.

What about in Clovelly?

I haven’t found anywhere yet. I haven’t explored enough.

When did you arrive in Australia?

At the beginning of January.

And when did you move to Clovelly?

Only about a month ago.

Are you missing home?

Someone asked me that the other day as well. I do miss it but not that much because I haven’t been here that long, but my sister just had a baby so I miss her and being there for her and watching her little girl grow up and get old, because next time I see her she will be massive. But I love it here. I love New Zealand so much and it’s amazing but I don’t miss it hugely. It was time to move on; it was time to go somewhere else and do something new.

How did the Packed to the Rafters opportunity come up?

I’d actually quit acting altogether and I’d gone back to study graphic design. I was there for a week and I literally got a call, not for Packed to the Rafters but for another job, on the Friday to do a little tele-feature in Australia. They said I got the job and then I got another call the same day saying I got a role in New Zealand for a show called Go Girls and I pretty much had to make the decision on that day if I wanted to keep doing acting or if I’d keep doing graphic design. I literally had this day to decide before I lost all my money for this course. Luckily I decided to do acting and I did the job here in a tele-movie called Panic At Rock Island, then I did Go Girls and then put an audition down for Packed to the Rafters and got it. So it was just like one after another.

Why did you decide to quit acting in the first place? Did you appear on many shows in New Zealand before you got the Rafters gig?

Yeah, but I only ever really did guesties. I’d studied at drama school for three years and came out and worked for this funny TV underground music station called ALT TV, which is now non-existent, and did presenting and producing. It was hilarious. It was like Wayne’s World. I worked in production and kept auditioning but I just didn’t have that much luck. It was a real struggle and it was really hard to get work so I did a million other jobs too.

You were on Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune over in New Zealand were’t you?

Yeah, but they were just guestie roles.

They’re pretty popular shows over in New Zealand though, aren’t they?

Yeah, they’re massive in New Zealand.

So would it be fair to say that you’re ridiculously famous back in New Zealand?


When you walk down the street, doesn’t everyone recognise you?

No, not at all.


Not at all.

It’s only a pretty small place though, isn’t it, New Zealand?

It’s tiny, yeah.

Is Rafters watched over in New Zealand?

It’s huge in New Zealand, but my stuff hasn’t been screened yet. They’re a whole season and a half behind, I think.

Are you worried that when you head back home next, you’ll go through the airport and everyone will recognise you?

I’ll be like a rock star. No, not really. I think I look quite different than I do on screen and I often I wear glasses so I think it will be fine.

Did you know all about the Rafters before you came out?

I hadn’t actually watched it. When I got the audition I thought I’d better do some homework so I marathoned all the series just to get the style and sense of the show and the character.

Did you know of many of your fellow actors?

Oh, yeah, of course. Erik Thomson is from Tauranga, which is part of the Bay of Plenty, where I grew up. It’s such a cool bunch of people. Everyone’s really supportive.

In the show are you cast as a New Zealander?

No, as an Aussie, so I have to do an Aussie accent.

How’s your Aussie accent?

Yeah, it’s good. It’s been a really good challenge. And that’s kind of why I wanted to go for the role as well, to try to crack the Aussie accent, and the character’s something that I haven’t really played before too.

Are you going to try to ditch your New Zealand accent and have a more cultured Australian accent in the future?

Sometimes I find myself merging the two. When I’m talking to Aussies I will talk quite Australian. My boyfriend Zander always hits me up about it. He’s always like “What are you doing? You’re talking Australian accent”, but I can’t help it.

Can you tell us a bit about your character in the show?

Her name is Emma and she is into horticulture. She’s studying, she’s a real keen gardener and she is really down to earth and quite a grounded kind of person. She’s fun, bubbly and she’s pretty cheeky – that’s how I’d describe her.

Is she sort of filling the void left by Zoe Ventoura’s character, Mel?

I don’t think so because they’re such different characters and it’s written so differently. I become friends with Ben (Hugh Sheridan) and I come in with my mum as well and we’re like a new storyline into the whole mix. So it’s very different to the way Mel was written. They’re very different characters.

Have you hooked up with Ben in the show yet?

No, we’re just friends. We become really good mates through gardening. I’m not sure how much more I’m allowed to say about that.

Have you met Zoe Ventoura?

Yes, I have, I met her at the Logies and she’s awesome, such a cool chick. She kind of looked after us and helped us along because we’d never been to a Logies event before and they’re so full on. It was cool to have her there kind of showing us the ropes.

How have you found the cast? Does everyone get on well on the Rafters set?

Yeah, it’s awesome. Everyone just looks out for each other. It’s a really supportive crew and all the actors are really supportive and amazing and so talented.

Do you have a favourite cast mate?

I guess I work most with Hugh (Sheridan) so I guess he’s my favourite and he’s awesome. He’s a really good guy.

How did you get started in acting?

I used to do a lot of dancing. I did contemporary and ballet and I just fell in love with performing. I travelled when I was younger with my dad to the Edinburgh Arts Festival and it was amazing over there. There are so many things in life that influence you to do what you want to do but I think that was a real turning point for me as a kid. I was only 11 and I just remember coming back from that trip and being like, “Yep, I want to be a performer.”

What do your folks do?

My dad’s an artist. He does painting, oil on canvas, and sandstone sculpture.

So you were prepared for the struggling artist’s lifestyle?

Yeah, and my mum’s a musician and artist as well.

Do you have any musical skills?

I can sing but I just haven’t explored it. I think I’m more scared of singing than anything because my mum’s a singer. I used to play drums though.

What was your first acting gig?

I don’t know. I was on a Huggies ad here. When I left drama school I got a whole bunch of commercial stuff but nothing that I really, really wanted. There were none of the really great roles that I was looking for but I did a million weird jobs. The most embarrassing acting job that I had to do was to dress up in a zebra outfit and make balloon animals for kids. I actually remember hiding from people because I was so embarrassed about that job.

Do you have a career highlight thus far?

I think probably just getting on Rafters and right now I’m so happy with my lifestyle. Getting this job encouraged me to move to Sydney, which I’ve been meaning to do for years anyway, and just being able to surf and do what I love every day, I feel pretty lucky. I think this is my highlight.

From an acting perspective does Australia offer significantly more opportunities than NZ?

Yes, but we’ve got a pretty cool little industry in New Zealand. A lot of things shoot there like Spartacus and The Hobbit so you can stick around and get plenty of work.

Did you get an extras role in Lord of the Rings like half of New Zealand?

Like the entire population of New Zealand! No, I didn’t.

Do you have any other skills besides acting?

I love doing design stuff and sketching. I stick at it as much as I can when I have the time and I just always sketch. Growing up with my dad, because he’s an artist, he would always take a sketchbook with him and a pencil and he’d always sketch things. He’d say it doesn’t matter if you’re creating amazing stuff just as long as you’re creating something. I’d love to eventually study it, I think.

Does the Rafters schedule allow you time to study as well as act?

I don’t know, because you never know what’s coming up.

And you never know what the surf’s doing…

Exactly. You have to have a really open schedule so I think it would be something I’d do once I’ve finished.

How long do you see yourself on Rafters?

I don’t know. For as long as I can, I love it.

Do you have LA ambitions or anything like that?

Yeah, I want to pursue acting and I’m probably going to be doing it for the rest of my life. I think once you start you get pretty addicted to it and you want to see how far you can push it.

Do you support any charities?

I don’t at the moment but I used to work for a company called Diversity Works in New Zealand with a guy called Philip Patston, who’s a comedian and he has cerebral palsy. I was his PA and coordinator and we used to go to government things and to schools and do workshops and just talk about diversity, getting people to think in a different way and approach difficult topics.

How long did you do that for?

I did that for two years.

Do you have any advice for youngsters looking to get into television?

It’s a bit cheesy but just follow your dreams and never give up because, from my experience, you never know what’s going to be around the corner. Just when you’re about to give up, the phone rings. And just stay focused and don’t get distracted by other things in life. If you stay focused on what you really want you’ll get it eventually.

When does Rafters return to the screen?

Some time in August I think.

What’s your favourite surf break?

There is a place back home up north called Shipwreck Bay and it’s amazing. It’s a massive point break and it breaks all around the point. It’s so amazing because there’s something about New Zealand where you just feel like you’re the only people in the world.

What about over here in Australia or even locally?

I haven’t explored as much as I’d like to around Australia but I really love surfing Bronte.

Is there anything you don’t like about living in the eastern suburbs? Is there anything you’ve found frustrating?

I think it’s funny how there are all the outdoor gymnasiums everywhere, full of blokes working out. In New Zealand you just don’t get that, everyone working out on the side of the beach.

In an ideal world what does the future hold for Zoe Cramond?

In an ideal world I’d keep acting and just keep doing roles that push me and challenge me as an actor. I think for me that’s the main thing, to always be growing as an actor and perfecting my craft. To keep working in that way and to be able to surf as much as I can and to have those things balancing in the end would be amazing.

Do you think you will settle in Australia long term?

I think so, but you never know what’s around the corner. If I get a job in Hawaii I’ll definitely go there!