The day after our glam Woman's Day photo shoot, Kura Forrester is snuggled up on the couch of her West Auckland apartment with her dog Tūī licking her face. She pretends to vomit at the cuteness of her beloved white cavachon, but this just gives him the zoomies.
"I knew this would happen!" she exclaims in mock irritation, jumping up to fill one of his toys with peanut butter to distract him while we chat. "This will shut him up. I'm such a good mum, eh?"
The 38-year-old former Shortland Street and Taskmaster NZ star, who's of Ngāti Porou descent, is getting in some parenting practice it would seem. Having been single for "the longest time", Kura is over the moon to have moved in with her partner of six months, Daniel Byrne, 38, whom she met on Bumble in March.
"He's a Shortland Street fan and he thought I must be a bot!" she laughs, adding that he couldn't believe his luck when it turned out she was real.
It might seem like they're moving fast, but Kura insists, "Us both being a bit older, we were in the same life position – and you know how everyone says, 'When you know, you know'? Well, we both just felt like that. We did all those things you usually do in a relationship but just sped them up. When you're pushing 40, you may as well!"
Kura is open about having always wanted kids. Earlier this year, pre-Daniel, she bought herself a birthday present of an appointment at a fertility clinic.
"I usually buy myself a piece of jewellery or a nice top," she explains. "But there was something quite freeing about this. I got my eggs tested and they're OK – just getting old. They told me I might want to think about freezing them. But something happened to me in that moment and I was like, 'I'm going to be OK,' and then I met Daniel."
The actress and comedian – the first wahine Māori to win a Billy T Award – is clearly besotted with her new man and is thankful he's on the same page as her about starting a family.
"That would've been a deal-breaker," she admits. "He's always wanted children. He's so good with kids, it kills me. He met my nieces and nephews, and I was just like laying eggs all around the place."
Clucking like a chicken, she giggles, "Hopefully it works. I'm going to try my hardest to get pregnant. If it doesn't work out, that has to be OK as well." Joking, she adds, "We'll just get another dog… or steal a baby."
But Kura turns serious as she thinks about the journey she's been on this year. "Fertility is a privilege. It's expenny to freeze your eggs!" She did put herself on the public waiting list for sperm donation, which is currently two years long, but things are looking pretty settled with Daniel.
"We're getting a bit fitter and doing a bit of keto so I can be in the best nick possible," Kura says of their parenthood prep. "We're both taking our vitamins daily and trying not to worry about it too much."
But for now, Daniel has adopted Tūī as his own, even partaking in a ceremony Kura "made him do". Reading off a pledge she's got stuck to the fridge, Kura recites, "I, Daniel Byrne, accept and with my whole heart adopt Tūī Lewis as my dog. I promise to be the best Dad ever for her."
Rolling her eyes, she laughs, "And then he signed it and Tūī signed it with a tiny drawn-on pawprint."
Asked if they'll tie the knot one day, Kura replies, "Hmm, that's a great question… Yeah, I reckon. I can't imagine not being with him now, so I would love to. Mainly for the party!"
Having left Shortland Street last October, after three years on the TVNZ 2 soap, Kura confirms rumours of a return to Ferndale… well, kind of. She's joining the writers' team.
"I'm having a hoon on the storylining table for a month," she says, adding that the door is open for her character Desdemona "Desi" Schmidt to come back.
"It'd be so fun to go back and be a dick on it again. I miss the fun I got to have doing that part and just being an absolute menace, but I don't miss how hard the work is."
Kura is also making a return to the New Zealand Television Awards. Having hosted the A-list event for the first time last year, she's "very excited" to do it again this December.
"I love the glitz and glam, and seeing all the newsreaders," she enthuses. "Can't wait!"
And with that, the dog leaps up to lick her face as if to tell her to wind up our interview.
"Don't worry, Tūī," laughs Kura. "You'll always be my girl."
The New Zealand Television Awards will be held at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre on 5 December. Tickets go on sale next month, with more details to be announced soon via the NZTV Awards social media platforms.
- CompetitionsBe in to win a huge book prize package valued at $650!
Now To LoveToday 9:00am
- Real LifeWhy a brain injury won't stop Miriam Ellis from getting back on her bike
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyYesterday 6:00am
- CompetitionsBe in to win a Bondi Sands care package worth $200
Now To LoveDec 02, 2023
- Celebrity NewsFormer Shortland Street star Holly Shervey's wild year
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyDec 01, 2023
- Celebrity NewsTeuila Blakely reflects on the job that changed her life
Woman's DayDec 01, 2023
- Celebrity NewsThe Breeze host Robert Scott on what he loves most about Christmas
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyNov 30, 2023
- Celebrity NewsOlympic hero Ellesse Andrews' secret to her success
Woman's DayNov 30, 2023
- Celebrity NewsCoast radio host Jason Reeves on his favourite Christmas childhood memories
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyNov 30, 2023
- Real LifeBoxing’s power couple: Alina and Isaac are changing lives
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyNov 29, 2023
- Beauty NewsSplurge or Steal! Makeup alternatives that won't break the bank
Woman's DayNov 29, 2023