Donna Akersten MNZM

Actor / Commercial / Voice
Age Range

70—80

Height

165cm

Eye Colour

Blue

Hair Colour

Grey

Ethnicity

New Zealander

Based In

Wellington

Voice Style

Animation / Character / Corporate / Documentary / Soft Sell / Straight / Voice Acting

DONNA AKERSTEN MNZM Donna was born in Auckland and was educated in Pakuranga College and Auckland Teachers’ College where she completed training as a primary school teacher, later teaching at Owairoa School and Elm Park School in Auckland. 

With a strong interest in theatre she started acting professionally in 1970, touring schools with the New Zealand Players Drama Quartet. This led to a change of career to one in theatre and film, with occasional periods of relief teaching in New Zealand and Australia. 

Donna has worked with all the major theatre companies in New Zealand and for The Nimrod Theatre, J C Williamson, Q Theatre and the Adelaide Arts Festival in Australia. Among her favourite roles are Mary Mooney in Once A Catholic at Mercury, Carlotta in The Cherry Orchard at Downstage, Meg in The Birthday Party at Circa (Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress) and Deborah in The Book Club for the Auckland Theatre Company (Audience Award for Best Actress). She last appeared at Fortune Theatre in the role of Honor in an ATC touring production of Honour. Donna has twice won the Wellington Critics’ Award for Best Actress. 

She has had extensive television experience on boh sides of the Tasman. Principal in New Zealand, being lead roles in Country GP, Shortland Street, Jackson Wharf, Bread and Roses, Mirror Mirror and the German tele-feature The Mystery of the Opals. 

Her feature films include Middle-Age Spread, Bad Blood, Sleeping Dogs, Te Rua, Via Satellite.

Donna has also worked widely in Radio and voice presentations. She has extensive experience in all aspects of voice acting for radio dramas, as well as short stories and documentary narrations.

In 2002 she was awarded the MNZM for services to acting. 

In addition to her acting, in 2007 Donna re-entered teaching in early childhood and in 2009 she started working as a relief teacher in the Primary Service in Wellington. 

She is passionately interested in food, wine and cooking. She has over twentry years experience as senior partner in a boutique catering company, preparing menus and organising functions for its private, corporate and diplomatic clientele. It also had as one of its principal aims, to provide work for actors between engagements. 

Her other interests include cats, serious gardening, fashion, reading and petanque. Donna is married to Wellington actor and food writer Gerald Bryan and they have a cat called Parker. 

Awards 

  • 2002 New Zealand Order of Merrit (MNZM) For services to Acting 
  • 2002 Winner Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for 'The Birthday Party’ 
  • 1999 Winner ATC Audience Award Best Actress for ‘The Book Club’ 
  • 1984 Winner Wellington Critics Award Best Actress for ‘Insignificance’ 
  • 1978 Winner Wellington Critics Award Best Actress for ‘Old Flames’  

Nominations

  • 1998 Honour / Theatre 
  • 1997 Via Satellite / Film 
  • 1991 Te Rua / Film
Donna Akersten MNZM

Artist Resume

Feature Film

Year
Role
Production

2009

Greta

Separation City

Separation City Ltd

Dir. Paul Middleditch

1998

Joyce

Via Satellite

Satellite Films

Dir. Anthony McCarten

1994

Mrs Mackersey

Bread and Roses

Preston Laing Productions

Dir. Gaylene Preston

1994

Mrs Monaghan

The Last Tattoo

Plumb Productions

Dir. John Reid

1991

Fiona

Te Rua

Pacific Films (Berlin)

Dir. Barry Barclay

1985

Malvina Jacobs

Dangerous Orphans

Dir. John Laing

1982

Doreen

Bad Blood

Southern Pictures

Dir. Mike Newell

1980

Joy

Squeeze

Trilogic Film Productions

Dir. Richard Turner

1979

Judy

Middle-Age Spread

Endeavour Productions

Dir. John Reid

1977

Mary

Sleeping Dogs

Aardvark Films

Dir. Roger Donaldson

Television

Year
Role
Production

2013

Judy Cooper

Shortland Street

South Pacific Pictures

Dir. Various

2011

Susan Ward

The Mystery of the Opals

Polyphon International Film und Fernseh

Dir. Thomas Hezel

2002

Clare

The Strip

Gibson Group

Dir. Various

2002

Rebecca

Revelations

Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group New Zealand

Dir. Various

1999

Prue Digby

Jacksons Wharf

South Pacific PIctures

Dir. Various

1998

Guest Role

William Tell

Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group New Zealand

Dir. Various

1997

Marilyn Bluck

Shortland Street 1995-1997

South Pacific Pictures

Dir. Various

1997

Leonie Coigley

Mirror Mirror 1995-1997

Gibson Group

Dir. Various

1992

Mary

Matrons of Honour

Meridian Film Productions

Dir. Pat Robins

1990

Anges Brock

The Ray Bradbury Theatre

TVNZ

Dir. Roger Tompkins

Stage

Year
Role
Production

2012

Chris

Calendar Girls

Fortune Theatre

Dir. Shane Anthony

2012

Laura

A Shortcut to Happiness

Circa Theatre

Dir. Ross Jolly

2011

Elizabeth (the older)

When the Rain Stops Falling

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2010

Mrs Gottlieb

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2010

Rita

The Birthday Boy

Circa Theatre

Dir. Jane Waddell

2009

Mother

Red Riding Hood

Circa Theatre

Dir. Ross Jolly

2009

Ludmilla

Where are You My Only Love

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2007

Voinitskaia

Uncle Vanya

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2006

Deborah

The Book Club

Auckland Theatre Company

Dir. Colin McColl

2005

Charlotta

The Cherry Orchard

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2005

Aunty

U-Boat

Downstage

Dir. Peter Tait

2004

Ursula Loyer

Vincent in Brixton

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2004

Frances Beale

The Breath of Life

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2003

Julienne

Conversations After a Burial

Circa Theatre

Dir. Ross Jolly

2003

Flora Humble

Humble Boy

Circa Theatre

Dir. Ross Jolly

2002

Miss Prism

The Importance of Being Ernest

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2002

Meg

The Birthday Party

Circa Theatre

Dir. Ross Jolly

2001

Lorraine

Take a Chance on Me

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2000

Irena

The Seagull

Circa Theatre

Dir. Susan Wilson

2000

Claire

A Delicate Balance

Circa Theatre

Dir. Bruce Philips

Voice Over

Year
Role
Production

1989

Samantha the Cat/The Sheep

Meet The Feebles

WingNut Film

Dir. Peter Jackson

Video

Year
Role
Production

2004

Donna Akersten

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Dir. John Reid