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Erik Thomson: Father figure

Kiwis rule on Packed to the Rafters
Erik Thomson

Erik Thomson, Photoshoot location courtesy of 'Emerald Inn' on Takapuna Beach

Photoshoot location courtesy of Emerald Inn on Takapuna Beach www.emerald-inn.co.nz

The emotion he felt holding his daughter Eilish just after her birth is a moment Kiwi star Erik Thomson draws on while working on Packed to the Rafters. Erik, who plays Dave Rafter on the hit TV One show, filmed the pilot when Eilish (now five) was one month old .

“Having that experience and then auditioning with Jess Marais, who played Dave’s first-born on the show, I understood that on a much deeper level than had I not had kids,” says Erik.

“It doesn’t matter how old my daughter gets, she will always be my little girl.” Held up as an Australian hero for his role on the drama, Erik finds it hilarious considering he’s a Kiwi – and he’s not the only one.

Erik, who was born in Scotland but grew up in Mount Maunganui, is one of four New Zealanders in the cast, which includes Rebecca Gibney who plays his on-screen wife Julie. While Erik (45) is settled in Sydney with his wife of 13 years, actress Caitlin McDougall, Eilish and their son Magnus James (2), the family man pines for New Zealand’s rugged coastline.

“I try and do as much surfing as I can in Australia but unfortunately, when you’ve got kids, it’s a matter of finding the time. The first thing I do when I go home is have a surf at the Mount [Maunganui].”

But in Australia, Erik says there are enough reminders of home to keep him happy. And while Kiwis on the show were mocked in the past for their accents, now they rule screens across the Tasman.

“At this year’s Australian Film awards the band was Dragon, where the lead singer is a Kiwi, and the presenter was Russell Crowe – it was a good 15 minutes until an Australian stepped on to the stage.”

Packed to the Rafters screens on TV One, Sundays at 8.30pm

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