Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand

Since training at Auckland’s Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for 40 years. She is also an accredited Intimacy Coordinator (Intimacy on Set, UK) for stage and screen.

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, Patron of Q Theatre, Theatre New Zealand and Te Manu Tīoriori Trust, and serves as a trust board member of the Actors' Benevolent Fund.

Her stage work includes: Twelfth Night, August: Osage County, Six Degrees of Separation and Two Ladies for Auckland Theatre Company; and The Goat, Brel, The Book of Everything and Here Lies Love for Silo Theatre. She has toured her cabaret, Falling in Love Again, throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Jennifer’s film work includes: The Footstep Man, Desperate Remedies, The Ugly, Fracture, Vermilion and Dead.

Television and web series include: Full Frontal, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Auckland Daze, The Almighty Johnsons, Friday Night Bites, The Ring Inz II, Dirty Laundry and The Brokenwood Mysteries. She also voices the character Dorable Duck on the TV series Buzzy Bee, and plays a variety of characters in the children’s web-series Tākaro Tribe. She can be seen as Arkadina in Auckland Theatre Company's online version of Chekhov’s The Seagull.

In the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to theatre and the community. In 2018, she was named SPADA Industry Champion and, in 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 Women of Influence award (for arts and culture). Most recently, Jennifer was honoured as the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2020.

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