Best Returning Characters!
The return of Dr Grace Kwan got us to thinking about some of the other interesting characters who have returned to the show after a break away.
Some might have returned after only a couple of months, but some like Dr Kwan, have been away for many years before surprising the team at Shortland Street by walking through the doors again.
Here's our pick of the top 10 returning characters:
1. Chris Warner
After the tragic death of Nurse Carmen Roberts (Theresa Healey), Guy Warner was left to raise their baby Tuesday by himself. When it was discovered that she had a serious brain disease, Chris offered to take Tuesday and Guy to the U.S where there was a surgeon who might be able to save her. It was a sad day in 1996 when the Warner boys departed from our shores. However, the clinic was gobsmacked (particularly CEO Sophia Martinez) when Dr. Chris Warner – love rat - returned to New Zealand in 2000 and revealed that he now owned Shortland Street clinic.
2. Rachel McKenna
One of the show’s longest standing characters, Angela Bloomfield was just 19 years old when she first started on Shortland Street in 1993 as Rachel McKenna. During her years on the show, Rachel transformed from a school girl, into a university student, bar manager and later, a Shortland Street clinic employee. Rachel left briefly in 1999, returned again between 2001 and 2002 and then again very briefly in 2007. She returned for good in 2009 with a mission in mind – to win back Chris Warner once and for all. Despite some hurdles along the way, it’s safe to say that Rachel has finally achieved her goal. At least for now!
3. Hone Ropata
Hardcore Shorty fans were beyond excited when it was announced that original cast member Temuera Morrison was returning to the show to reprise his role as Dr Hone Ropata in order to commemorate its 15th year and 4000th episode in 2008. On the receiving end of the infamous line “You’re not in Guatemala now Dr Ropata” in the very first episode of the show back in 1992, Hone left a string of broken hearts in Ferndale before leaving the show in 1994 to set up a clinic on the East Coast. His return ruffled many feathers, but life in the big city was not all it was cracked up to be for Dr Ropata and he left Ferndale again after only a few short months.
4. Guy Warner
While it was only a few years before Chris returned, it was almost 10 before Guy (Craig Parker) and Tuesday (Olivia Tennet) ventured back to our fair shores. In the States Guy had become a successful child psychologist and writer of self-help books, but he had also picked himself up a nasty drug habit. It wasn’t long before Guy began to bond with Chris’ wife Toni, however his addiction was also spiralling out of control and Tuesday was struggling to cover for her father.
When Toni caught Chris in bed with Rachel McKenna, Guy convinced her to run away with him and the kids. They disappeared for six months, leaving Chris Warner distraught.
Tuesday eventually managed to return to Chris and pleaded for help, leading him to a derelict farm house where Toni and Guy were hiding out. Guy and Tuesday eventually left Ferndale again with the aim of enteringGuy into a rehab clinic.
5. Marj Neilsen
It was a poignant moment when Shortland Street’s original receptionist, Marj Brasch (previously Neilsen) returned to Shortland Street for the show’s 20th Anniversary celebrations. Marj returned to help support Rachel McKenna who was struggling to cope with the incarceration of partner, Chris Warner for murder. In a strange parallel cross-over, Elizabeth McRae, who plays Marj was directed in her return scenes by her own real-life daughter Kathy McRae who has also been an actor on the show.
6. The Jeffries and Gerald Tippett
As one of Shortland Street’s most loved families, fans were ecstatic when Yvonne, Maia, Tania, Libby and Libby’s husband Gerald returned for the 20th Anniversary. But while everyone was overjoyed to be reunited with the Jeffries (particularly Nurse Nicole Miller, who was still in love with Maia), things took a disastrous turn when it was discovered that Gerald had heart failure and needed an immediate transplant. A serious of disastrous events saw the helicopter which was carrying Gerald’s replacement heart swerve to avoid an escaped drug addict and crash into the hospital carpark injuring several people. The heart then got lost in the bush and was only just recovered in time.
7. Sarah Potts
Sarah Potts may have only left for six months, but the impact that her return had would last much longer, especially for her ex-husband TK. Leaving Ferndale to take up a job researching MS treatment in the States, Sarah Potts bid farewell to TK with one last romantic night together.
Attempting to move on with his life, TK was in the early stages of a new romance with a lovely new nurse by the name of Roimata Ngatai when Sarah shocked him with her return. But the biggest surprise was yet to come – she was pregnant with TK’s baby. Sarah was devastated when she realised that TK has moved on without her and that she would now be raising this baby alone. She ended up giving birth in a ditch on the very day that TK and Roimata were meant to be getting married.
8. Zac Smith
We first met Zac through clinic director Julia Thornton, and her son James who learned that Zac was his half brother – they shared the same biological father. Zac was a handsome apparently easy-going young man used to the adoring gaze of women and men alike. He later returned and became embroiled with Rachel McKenna at her alcoholic worst. Things with Chris were strained and Rachel gravitated to the easy-going, charming Zac. But he soon became aware of her drinking problem, especially when he discovered her face down in his pool. He saved Rachel but he wanted nothing more to do with her, sent her packing, leaving Ferndale shortly afterwards.
He again returned in 2012, but this time things were different. He was hired initially as Daniel Potts carer, but eventually began working as a nurse at Shortland Street. He began a relationship with Daniel’s mother, Sarah, but also started an illicit affair with Vasa and began to manipulate both women. During this time we began to see a darker side to Zac when he began to blackmail Ula after she threatened to reveal his affair with Vasa. It was eventually revealed that he was the person who had assaulted Roimata in the carpark of the IV and stalked her afterwards. Things came to a crashing halt when he kidnapped Roimata and he was eventually caught and taken to prison.
9. Vinnie Kruse
Fans said goodbye to fun-loving Vinnie Kruse (Pua Magasiva) and is pregnant partner Jemima in 2006. During that time Shortland Street was introduced to Vinnie’s cousin Dr Maxwell Avia (played by Pua’s real-life brother, Robbie) and a host of other relatives including Maxwell’s ex-wife, Vasa and daughter, Ula. Vinnie returned to Ferndale to be reunited with his family after the bust-up of his relationship with Jemima and a horrific custody battle for son Michael in 2011. And perhaps we will be introduced to his son one day too…..
10. Zlata Waldheim
Zlata (Kate Elliott) arrived in August 2011 and shocked the hospital staff when she announced her engagement to oddball, Luke Durville. However many suspected she was after his money when she began to change his appearance and showed little affection. However it soon transpired that Zlata was truly in love with Luke, but he had had fallen for his best friend, Bella Cooper (Amelia Reid). Discovering that Zlata’s relationship was in jeopardy Zlata's criminal father Costel attempted to murder Bella and the two returned to Romania.
Zlata made a shock reappearance in April 2013 and announced the birth of her and Luke's son, Luca, only to discover her ex-fiance had died. Zlata showed little affection for her son and she was diagnosed with post-natal depression. Desperate for Luke's inheritance from Bella, Zlata agreed to marry her in a civil union but soon came round to loving Luca and departed Ferndale once more.