We really hope you enjoy listening to Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand sharing her career journey with you as part of The Female Career podcast.
Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musicals and radio for 40 years, as an Actor, Director, and Board Member. Her stage and screen work includes everything from Twelfth Night to Xena: Warrior Princess. She is also a trained intimacy coordinator.
Jennifer was a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of the drama school, The Actors' Program. She is President of Equity New Zealand (since 2008), Patron of Q Theatre and Theatre New Zealand and serves as a trust board member of the Actors Benevolent Fund. In 2018 she was named SPADA Industry Champion and in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to theatre, film and television and presented with a Woman of Influence Award (for arts and culture). Most recently, Jennifer was honoured as the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2020.
Jennifer has been a keen student of te reo Māori since 2008. In 2017, she was gifted the name Te Atamira (The Stage) by Sir Timoti Karetu and Te Wharehuia Milroy. Her journey to learn te reo Māori began in 2008 and she is a te reo ambassador for Te Reo Tuatahi.
"Learning te reo Māori changed me. I feel so much more connected to Aotearoa through having gone on this journey. I feel fundamentally changed in the best kind of way and it's just a complete joy to have the opportunity to speak and understand. Of course I still consider myself a student, don't get me wrong, I will be until I die. But to have the opportunity to understand this beautiful, poetic, witty, funny, deep, wide language, I couldn't have asked for a better gift."
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