Rachel House (actress)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rachel House

Close-up of a smiling, black-haired woman at a microphone.
House at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Rachel Jessica Te Ao Maarama House

(1971-10-20) 20 October 1971 (age 52)[1]
Auckland, New Zealand
  • Actress
  • director
Years active1992–present
Notable work

Rachel Jessica Te Ao Maarama House ONZM (born 20 October 1971) is a New Zealand actress and director. She is best known for her roles in the films Whale Rider (2002), Boy (2010), White Lies (2013), Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), Moana (2016), Bellbird (2019) and Soul (2020). She is a series regular on TV in the 2022 reboot of Heartbreak High as Principal Stacy "Woodsy" Woods and is a recurring character in the New Zealand Dark comedy-drama Creamerie as Doc Harvey. She is also a regular fixture of New Zealand theatre.

Early life[edit]

House was born 20 October 1971 in Auckland and raised in Kamo, Whangarei by her adoptive Scottish parents John and Sheila House.[1][2] She is of Māori (Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāi Tahu) and European descent.[2]



House attended the New Zealand national drama school, Toi Whakaari, graduating in 1992.[2] She went into stage work with the Pacific Underground Theatre and the Auckland Theatre Company.[2]

She has acted in several major productions that have toured 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.[2]

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 wrote: "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. It became the top grossing New Zealand film of all time at the New Zealand box office.[5]

House voiced Gramma Tala in the 2016 Disney animated film Moana.[6] In 2017, she played Grandmaster's bodyguard Topaz in Thor: Ragnarok.[7][8] In 2019, she was one of the leading roles in Bellbird, a film that received several awards at several international film festivals.[9][10][11] In 2020, she voiced Terry in the Pixar animated film Soul.[12]

She plays one of the main roles in the Australian 2023 comedy drama series Bay of Fires.[13]

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


House has directed several theatrical performances.[2]

In 2010, she directed Kylie Meehan's short film The Winter Boy, produced by Hineani Melbourne for the New Zealand Film Commission's Premiere Shorts.[2]

In 2012, House directed the Māori-language version of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, Toroihi rāua ko Kahira, adapted by Te Haumihiata Mason and set in a classical Māori and a pre-colonial Māori world. It was performed as part of an international series at London's Globe Theatre.[2][14] 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.[2]

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.[15]


In 1995, House won the "Most Promising Female Newcomer of the Year" Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for her one-woman show Nga Pou Wahine by Briar Grace-Smith.[2] In 2000 she won Most Outstanding Performance for her role in Witi Ihimaera's critically acclaimed play Woman Far Walking (as Tiriti, a 160-year-old woman)[16] and in 2003, Best Supporting Actress 8n Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People.[2]

House won 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.[2]

She 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.[2]

In 2012, she 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. In the same year, she won Production of the Year and Director of the Year at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, for her direction of Toroihi rāua ko Kahira.[2]

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.[17]

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.[18]



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)
The Dark Horse Vagrant woman
2016 Hunt for the Wilderpeople Paula Director's Intern and Dialogue Coach
The Rehearsal Rewia
Moana Gramma Tala (voice) Also dubbed role in Māori
2017 Thor: Ragnarok Topaz
2019 Bellbird Connie [19]
Jojo Rabbit American Soldier Deleted scene; also acting coach[20]
2020 Penguin Bloom Gaye
Soul Terry (voice)
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt) Patty
2021 Cousins Missy
Back to the Outback Jacinta (voice)
2023 The Portable Door Nienke Van Spee
Next Goal Wins Ruth
2024 Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire[21] Filming


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, 2020 The New Legends of Monkey Monica Season 1-2
2018 Wrecked Martha Season 3
2019 The Lion Guard Mama Binturong Voice role; 6 episodes
2020 Stateless Harriet Miniseries; 6 episodes
2021 Cowboy Bebop Mao Main cast
2021 Creamerie Doc Harvey 3 episodes
2021 What If...? Topaz Voice role; episode: "What If... Thor Were an Only Child?"
2022 Amphibia Parisia (voice) Episode: "Olm Town Road"
2022–present Pinecone & Pony Gladys (voice) Recurring role
2022–present Heartbreak High Woodsy Recurring role
2023–present Kiff Mary Buns 3 episodes
2023–present Foundation[22] Tellem Bond Season 2
2023 Koala Man Janine (voice) Main role
2023 Bay of Fires Airini 4 episodes
2023 Our Flag Means Death[23] Mary Read 1 episode
TBA Time Bandits Fianna Upcoming miniseries



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 "Today in History: October 20". thepost.co.nz. The Post. 19 October 2023. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Rachel House". Arts Foundation. 26 September 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  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. 28 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Queen Topaz: Ruler of Men". scoop.previewsworld.com/.
  9. ^ "Bellbird: Film Review". Hollywood Reporter. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  10. ^ "MACAO 2019 Awards Kirill Mikhanovsky's Give Me Liberty wins the fourth International Film Festival & Awards‧Macao". Cineuropa.org. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  11. ^ "2021 Palmares". Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes. 25 May 2022. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  12. ^ Wiese, Jason (25 December 2020). "Soul Voice Cast: Who's Voicing Who In The Pixar Movie". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  13. ^ Bay of Fires at IMDb
  14. ^ Edmond, Murray (22 October 2014). "Māori and Pacific theatre". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Theatre Aotearoa". tadb.otago.ac.nz. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  17. ^ "WIFT NZ Mana Wahine Awards for 2016". www.wiftnz.org.nz. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2017". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  19. ^ Rudkin, Francesca (7 November 2019). "New rural dramedy Bellbird, a 'Joy to Watch' [Film Review]". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  20. ^ "Clever" 'Jojo Rabbit' Deleted Scene Detailed by Rachel House
  21. ^ Vitto Oddo, Marco (25 August 2022). "'Godzilla vs. Kong 2' Synopsis Reveals New Details About Monsterverse Sequel". Collider. Archived from the original on 25 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Global hit Apple Original series "Foundation" unveils new cast and first look at season two". Apple TV+ Press. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  23. ^ Vickers-Green, Laura (5 October 2023). "Our Flag Means Death Season 2 Cast: Meet The New Characters". Den of Geek. Retrieved 10 October 2023.

External links[edit]