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Kiwi comedian Rhys Darby on raising his children in gun-obsessed America

Despite moving to LA five years ago, Rhys makes a pilgrimage home every year for a classic Kiwi summer.

While the gun violence and political turmoil can often seem a world away from the safe serenity of New Zealand, Rhys Darby has slowly settled into his "second home" in the US.
But as his sons, Finn, 12, and Theo, eight, near their teenage years, the Kiwi comic admits that raising a family in Hollywood comes with extra worries.
"There's more concerns," he confesses, talking to Woman's Day to promote his series Voltron: Legendary Defender.
"It's really just about getting them into good schools, then not worrying too much about shootings. It does happen and guns are a huge thing in America, but luckily less so in Los Angeles. We're in a bit of a bubble."
It's been five years since Rhys, 44, stopped jetting back and forth across the Pacific to make LA a more permanent home. Having won over US audiences with Flight of the Conchords, his unique humour has since helped him land gigs on Modern Family, Hot in Cleveland and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Although he has enjoyed amazing opportunities professionally, settling as a family on the other side of the ocean wasn't always easy. And while today Rhys has helped other high-profile Kiwis like Taika Waititi make the move, he and wife Rosie Carnahan-Darby were forced to figure it out on their own.
"No-one helped us – we were pioneers!" Rhys recalls. "We've made friends since we've been here, but my friends from all the shows and projects I've done all still live in Wellington. And I don't even know where Taika is. He's in LA, but I haven't seen him for so long because he's always working."
Rhys says the hardest part of the family's transition has been familiarising themselves with the sprawling showbiz capital of the world.
"LA's very different for raising a family and you've got to find the right place because it's so big, but when you find your little neighbourhood, it's perfect," he tells.
"I'm in Studio City, where I can walk to cafés and restaurants. The kids' schools are really good and I don't get in the car much. But it took me about four years to find that place."

"When we first moved, we were living in a canyon up in the Hollywood Hills where there were no footpaths. We were completely detached from everything, which is hard when we're used to walking everywhere. And LA doesn't have a city centre – it's got downtown, but you don't want to go there. It was certainly an adjustment, but now it feels like a second home. It feels really good.
"There's a lot of unity in the neighbourhoods. We have block parties, then at Halloween or the Fourth of July, the whole community comes out and does a parade. There's more of that than what I was used to in New Zealand."
Another key to settling happily into Hollywood has been regular trips home, with Rhys, Rosie and the boys keen never to miss a classic Kiwi summer, despite getting their fair share of California sunshine.

The actor tells, "I go back to New Zealand about three times a year and we always go home for Christmas for three weeks. I couldn't live without doing that because that's my favourite time of year – the New Zealand summer. They just don't understand it over here!"
While he waits for his next visit, Rhys is busy with an impressive string of projects, including a dream gig as the voice of villain Hypno-Potamus in the new cartoon series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
His voice also features in the animated flick Mosely, with Lucy Lawless, and he stars in season three of the comedy series Wrecked, which he filmed in Fiji alongside Kiwi actress Rachel House.
This week, he releases a mystery-comedy book for kids called The Top Secret Undercover Notes of Buttons McGinty.
But it's his role as Coran in Netflix's Voltron: Legendary Defender, a reboot of the iconic '80s cartoon Voltron: Defender of the Universe, that brings him and his boys to Comic-Con in San Diego, where he's speaking to us.
"It was a surprise to me when they remade it," he says before heading off to an autograph signing. "I went back and watched some of it, and got quite excited. The next thing I knew, I'm this crazy character from outer space who flies a giant castle ship.
"They knew who I was, so they cast me for my comedy and because I have an alien quality about me. I fitted well with the predominantly American cast and the whole universe of the show.
"I'm really proud that I've been able to bring our Kiwi voice into such a huge world, which has such big fandom all over the globe."

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