Anapela Polataivao

Anapela Polataivao

Anapela graduated from New Zealand’s leading Drama School: Toi Whakaari with a Bachelor of Arts Degree Majoring in Acting (BA) in 2002, since then she carved out a career not only in front of the camera but also for Theatre as an Actor, Producer & Director. 

Pacific Islander
Age Range
45 - 57
157cm / 5ft 2in
Anapela Polataivao photo 1Anapela Polataivao photo 2Anapela Polataivao photo 3Anapela Polataivao photo 4Anapela Polataivao photo 5Anapela Polataivao photo 6Anapela Polataivao photo 7Anapela Polataivao photo 8


Anapela gained international acclaim for her performance in the short film Night Shift (2012) and won Best Actress in the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards for her role in Tusiata Avia’s Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, which she also directed and then went on to make history in 2020 as the first Samoan woman to have directed a show off-Broadway when Wild Dogs Under My Skirt made its New York debut and was subsequently named the winner of the Fringe Encore Series at the SoHo Playhouse.

Screen highlights include feature films such as The Justice of Bunny King starring alongside Australian actor Essie Davis, One Thousand Ropes written & directed by Tusi Tamasese , The Changeover directed by Stuart McKenzie & Miranda Harcourt and New Zealand series such as Filthy Rich, Duckrockers & The Panthers which won 8 awards at this year’s NZ Film & Television Ceremony.  Most recently Anapela starred in the Australian series The Messenger, Season 2 of Taika Waititi’s Our Flag Means Death for HBO Max and New Zealand feature film Tinā directed by Miki Magasiva playing the lead role of Mareta.


Year Production Role Company / Director Type
2024 Tinā Mareta (Lead) Tu Fa'atasi Films, dir. Miki Magasiva Feature Film
2021 The Justice of Bunny King Iosefina Bunny Productions Ltd., dir. Gaysorn Thavatt Feature Film
2017 The Changeover Sandra Lipton Changeover Films Ltd, dir. Stuart McKenzie, Miranda Harcourt Feature Film
2015 A Thousand Ropes Dorothy (Support) Tusi Tamasese Feature Film


Year Production Role Company / Director Type
2023-2024 Shortland Street Hanalei To'a South Pacific Pictures Drama
2023 Our Flag Means Death S2 Auntie Emporium Productions, HBO Drama
2022 The Messenger Olivia ABC, Messenger Productions Pty Ltd Drama
2022 Duckrockers Aunty Sue South Pacific Pictures Drama
2021 The Panthers Kong's Mum TVNZ Drama
2017 Filthy Rich S2 Elei (Guest) Filthy Productions, dir. Peter Burger Drama
2015 Filthy Rich S1 Elei (Guest) Filthy Productions, dir. Peter Burger Drama
2010-2016 Pani & Pani / Mr Lavalava / Game of Bros Actor/Performer TVNZ Fresh / Maori TV Drama
2010 Eruption Ana (Lead) Gibson Group, dir. Danny Mulheron Drama
2005 The Market Ina Lima (Lead) Isola Productions, dir. Renee Naufahu Drama
2005 KTV Director Triangle TV Drama

Web Series

Year Production Role Company / Director
2020 The Educators S2 Parent South Pacific Pictures
2017 Baby Mama's Club Lagi BMC Productions, dir. Hanelle Harris, Roseanne Liang


Year Production Role Company / Director
2022 The Worm The Rat Nightsong
2020 Every Brilliant Thing Performer Silo Theatre Trust
2018 Fresh Inc Siana Court Theatre Trust
2016 Puzzy Director F.C.C / Lydia Zanetti/ PRIDE FESTIVAL
2015 Girl on a Corner Director Multinesia Productions
2015 Club Paradiso Tahlz F.C.C - dir. Vela Manusaute
2015 21st Narcissus Director
2014 The Factory - A Pacific Musical Director Australian Tour
2014 The Factory - A Pacific Musical Director Edinburgh Festival
2013 The Factory - A Pacific Musical Director Auckland Arts Festival / KKK
2012 Taro King Director Kila Kokonut Krew
2011 Kingdom of Lote Director Kila Kokonut Krew
2011 Four Women Director Kila Kokonut Krew / Centre Point Theatre
2011 The Factory - A Pacific Musical Director/Producer/writer Kila Kokonut Krew
2009 Yellow Man Director Pacific Institute of Performing Arts
2008 Pani & Pani Actor Pani & Pani
2008 Once Were Samoans Director/Producer/writer/Actor Fuel Festival Hamilton
2008 Where We Once Belonged Moa Fuel Festival Hamiton / Auckland Theatre Co
2008 Where We Once Belonged Moa International Festival Of The Arts / ATC
2008 Super Fresh KKK / International Comedy Festival
2007 My Name Is Gary Cooper Salamoana ATC
2007 Frangipani Perfume Tivi Festival Cambridge London, dir. Makerita Urale
2007 Frangipani Perfume Tivi Dreaming Festival Australia, dir. Makerita Urale
2006 Once Were Samoans Mama Kila Kokonut Krew / Comedy Festival
2005 Playez Night Singer/Security Guard/ Mother Dir. Vela Manu Saute
2004 Love handles Talau Dir. Vela Manu Saute
2003 Island Divas Dancer/Actor New York Tour
2003 Two Days in Dream Nurse lupe DirColin Mitchell
2003 Island Girls Sina/Mother Dir. Oscar Kightley
2003 Songmaker's Chair Facilitator TIE Schools Tour
2002 Taro King Dir. Vela Manu Saute
2002 Island Girls Mother/Sina Dir. Oscar Kightley
2001 Duffy Show Te kai kapu/ Sinuki Dir. Christian Penny
2000 Into the Woods Jack's Mother Dir. Miranda Harcourt

Short Film

Year Production Role Company / Director Type
2022 The Taxidermist Taxidermist Red Rock Films Short Film
2012 Nightshift Salote (Lead) Curious Films, dir. Zia Mandviwalla Short Film
1996 Brown Sugar Losa (Lead) He Taonga Films Short Film
2000 Sweet Singers Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, dir. Ian Mune Student Film


Year Description Institution / Presenter
1998 Bachelor of Performing Arts: Acting Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School