Rachel House (actress)

Rachel Jessica Te Ao Maarama House ONZM (born 20 October 1971) is a New Zealand actress, acting coach, and director.

Rachel House

Rachel House by Gage Skidmore.jpg
House at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Rachel Jessica Te Ao Maarama House

(1971-10-20) 20 October 1971 (age 48)
Auckland, New Zealand
OccupationActress, acting coach, comedian
Notable work

Early lifeEdit

House was born in 1971 in Auckland, New Zealand, and was raised in Kamo, Whangarei, by her parents John and Sheila House.[1] She is of Māori (Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāi Tahu) and European descent.[1]



House attended the New Zealand national drama school, Toi Whakaari, graduating in 1992.[1] From here she went into stage work with Pacific Underground Theatre and Auckland Theatre Company. In 1995, she won the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Most Promising Female Newcomer of the Year Award for her performance in the one-woman show Nga Pou Wahine by Briar Grace-Smith.[1] This was followed by other awards in 2000 (Most Outstanding Performance) for Witi Ihimaera's critically acclaimed Woman Far Walking (in which she played the key role of Tiriti, a 160-year-old woman)[2] and 2003 (Best Supporting Actress) in Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People.[1]

She has acted in several major productions that have toured both nationally and internationally, including Hone Kouka's Waiora, Carol Anne Duffy's The Worlds Wife and the UK/New Zealand co-production of Beauty and the Beast.[1]

House's film work has included roles in Whale Rider, Eagle vs Shark, Boy, and White Lies.[3] Her television appearances include Maddigan's Quest and Gaylene Preston's series Hope and Wire.[3] Jason Buchanan of the Rovi corporation says of her "While she may not necessarily possess traditional Hollywood good looks, House has an undeniably distinct persona onscreen and exhibits just the kind of charisma that could prove the foundation for an enduring career."[4]

In 2016, House appeared in Taika Waititi's feature film Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The film became the top grossing New Zealand film of all time at the New Zealand box office.[5]

House voiced the character of Gramma Tala in the 2016 Disney animated film Moana.[6] In 2017, she played Grandmaster's bodyguard Topaz in Thor: Ragnarok.[7]

House is a frequent collaborator of director Taika Waititi, acting in four of his films (Eagle vs Shark, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok) while also serving as acting coach for the young actors on Boy, ... Wilderpeople and Jojo Rabbit. She also worked as acting coach in Everything We Loved, The Dark Horse, The Rehearsal and the second season of the series Top of the Lake.


House has directed several theatrical performances, winning the 2001 Director of the Year award at both the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards and the New Zealand Listener Awards for her direction of Mitch Tawhi Thomas' play Have Car Will Travel.[1]

House attended the Prague Film School in 2008 and was awarded Best Director and Best Film Audience Award for her two short films made while studying there.[1] In 2010, House directed Kylie Meehan's short film The Winter Boy, produced by Hineani Melbourne for the New Zealand Film Commission's Premiere Shorts.[1]

In 2012, House directed the Māori-language version of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, performed as part of an international series at London's Globe Theatre.[1] For this she was awarded Production of the Year and Director of the Year at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.[1] Other theatre directing work includes the award-winning production of Hinepau, which House also co-adapted from Gavin Bishop's original book and toured both nationally and internationally, Neil La Bute's The Mercy Seat and Hui by longtime collaborator Mitch Tawhi Thomas that premiered at the Auckland Arts Festival in 2013.[1]

In 2016, House directed Auckland based theatre company Silo Theatre's production of Medea, a contemporary retelling of the Euripides myth created by Australian theatre-makers Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks.[8]


In 2012, House received the New Zealand Arts Foundation's Laureate Award, which is given as an investment in excellence across a range of art forms for an artist with prominence and outstanding potential for future growth.[1] In 2016, House received the WIFT (Women in Film & Television) NZ Mana Wāhine Award for her prolific contribution to theatre and film, both in front of and behind the camera.[9]

In the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours, House was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the performing arts.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Whale Rider Shilo
2004 Fracture Taxi driver
2006 Perfect Creature Forensic woman
2007 Eagle vs Shark Nancy
2010 Boy Aunty Gracey
2013 White Lies Maraea
2014 Everything We Loved TV reporter Voice role
The Dark Horse Vagrant woman
2016 Hunt for the Wilderpeople Paula Director's Intern and Dialogue Coach
The Rehearsal Rewia
Moana Gramma Tala Voice role (House reprises her role as Tala in the 2017 Māori dub of the movie)
2017 Thor: Ragnarok Topaz
2019 Bellbird Connie
2020 Ellie & Abbie (& Ellies Dead Aunt) Patty
2020 Penguin Bloom Gaye Post-production
TBA Next Goal Wins Post-production
TBA Baby Done Principal Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Queenie and Pete Queenie
1998 Tiger Country Faenza Television Movie
1999–2000 The Life and Times of Te Tutu Hine Core Cast
2002 Duggan Warder Television Movie
Mataku Rachel Season 1
Revelations Ocelot
2005 Ask Your Auntie Panelist
2006 Maddigan's Quest Goneril Core Cast
2011 Super City Roimata Season 1
2013 The Blue Rose Tina 3 Episodes
2014 Hope and Wire Joycie Waru Mini-Series
Soul Mates Mum
2015 Find Me a Māori Bride Kuini Season 1
2016 Wolf Creek Ruth Mini-Series
2018 The New Legends of Monkey Monica Season 1
Wrecked Martha Season 3
2019 The Lion Guard Mama Binturong Voice role; 6 episodes
2020 Stateless Harriet Miniseries; 6 episodes



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Tales of the Pacific Various Pacific Underground Theatre
By Degrees Donna Auckland Theatre Company
Savage Hearts – Manawa Taua Various Theatre at Large
1995 Risky Risque Baby Bats Theatre
Nga Pou Wahine Various New Zealand Tour
The Maids Claire
Five Angels Carol/Api Centrepoint Theatre
1996 Waiora America New Zealand International Festival of the Arts
Waitapu Jackie New Zealand & Canadian Tour
King Lear Cordelia/Various Theatre at Large
1997 Waiora America New Zealand & UK Tour
Alice in Wonderland Various Bruce Mason Centre
Nga Pou Wahine New Zealand & Sydney – Australia Tour
1998 Beauty and the Beast New Zealand International Festival of the Arts
2000 Serial Killers Simone Circa Theatre
Woman Far Walking Tiriti New Zealand International Festival of the Arts
2001 New Zealand & Hawaiian Tour
2002 The World's Wife Various New Zealand International Festival of the Arts
The Bellbird Tapairu Auckland Theatre Company
South Pacific Bloody Mary Court Theatre
2003 Cherish Maeve Circa Theatre
An Enemy of the People
The World's Wife Various New Zealand Tour
2010 The Vagina Monologues The Basement Theatre
2013 White Rabbit, Red Rabbit Nassim Silo Theatre


Year Title Notes
2001 Have Car Will Travel Taki Rua
2002 Silo Theatre
2005 The Mercy Seat
Hinepau Capital E National Theatre for Children
2006 Australian Tour
2006–2007 Frangipani Perfume New Zealand; Brisbane, Australia; Cambridge, U.K
2007 Wild Dogs Under My Skirt Auckland Festival
2009 Flintlock Musket STAMP at THE EDGE
2012 The Māori Troilus and Cressida Globe Theatre
2013 Hui Auckland Arts Festival & Silo Theatre
Don Ioane Pacific Institute of Performing Arts
2014 MISS.Understood
2016 Medea Silo Theatre


Year Award Category Work Result
1995 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Most Promising Female Newcomer Nga Pou Wahine Won
1996 Best Supporting Actress King Lear Nominated
2001 Director of the Year Have Car Will Travel Won
New Zealand Listener Award Best Director Won
2002 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Outstanding Performance Woman Far Walking Won
2003 Best Supporting Actress An Enemy of the People Won
2010 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival Best Supporting Actress Boy Won
2012 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Director of the Year The Māori Troilus and Cressida Won
2012 New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate Award Won
2016 WIFT NZ Mana Wāhine Award Won


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Rachel House". 26 September 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Theatre Aotearoa". tadb.otago.ac.nz. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Kathryn Rawlings & assoc". www.kractors.co.nz. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Rachel House Biography". Fandango. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Hunt for the Wilderpeople becomes largest grossing local film in NZ". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. ^ Heath, Paul (25 July 2016). "Nicole Scherzinger, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk & more join the cast of Disney's Moana". The Hollywood News. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Interview: Moana's Rachel House on Marginalized Voices in Hollywood and the Need for More Female Directors". www.themarysue.com.
  8. ^ Christian, Dionne (11 June 2016). "Hunt for the Wilderpeople's Rachel House on her new project". New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  9. ^ "WIFT NZ Mana Wahine Awards for 2016". www.wiftnz.org.nz. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2017". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.

External linksEdit