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Morgana O’Reilly & Zoe Cramond: Kiwi Neighbours stars!

Our girls have become secret soapie allies
Morgana O'Reilly & Zoe Cramond: Kiwi Neighbours stars!

With their healthy tans and flawless accents, you could be forgiven for thinking Neighbours actresses Zoe Cramond and Morgana O’Reilly are as true-blue Aussie as their on-screen personas. But catch them out of character – as Woman’s Day does for our exclusive shoot in Melbourne – and it’s clear these gorgeous girls are as Kiwi as they come.

Up until three months ago, Auckland-born Morgana was the only New Zealander on Australia’s longest-running soap and her sense of humour was often lost on her co-stars.

“You know when you make a joke about an ad that’s on TV at home or whatever and no-one gets it? That happened to me all the time!” laughs the 29-year-old, who is eight months pregnant. “But now I have Zoe and she gets it. It’s great. Plus, I can talk to her about things like my bach in Waihi and she’s totally on the same page.”

Former Packed to the Rafters and Shortland Street star Zoe landed her role as Amy Williams on Neighbours in March and has quickly struck up a close friendship with her fellow Kiwi. The 30-year-old Bay of Plenty native says, “Morgana is such a great buddy to have and she’s genuinely one of the funniest people I have ever met.”

But the delightful duo’s backstage bond has taken a back seat, with Morgana, who plays Naomi Canning on the TV2 soap, on maternity leave as she prepares to give birth to her first child with her Kiwi writer-director partner Peter Salmon.

“We’ve hidden the pregnancy on the show,” confides Morgana. “I don’t want to give anything away about how that affects Naomi, but I’m looking forward to it.”

The bubbly brunette is planning to have her little one in Australia, with her due date falling on her 30th birthday on August 19.

“Chances that I’ll actually have it that day are pretty slim,” she says, “but it would be amazing if I did. My mum is also visiting that week, so I’m hoping it happens when she’s here – otherwise she’ll need to be on speed dial!”

Image: Tina Smigielski

Take me home

Despite calling Australia home for the past four years, Morgana has felt an intense pull to be closer to her family since she discovered she was expecting.

She confesses, “It’s quite hard being away from New Zealand at the moment. We go back quite often for work and visits, but it’s the first time I’ve ever felt a real need to go home. I just want to smell it and feel it, and see my mum and dad!”

It’s an urge Zoe, who has been across the ditch for six years, understands well. “I do miss home a lot,” she says. “It’s really sweet, though – before I started on the show, my family began watching it so they could get up to date with all the characters. Now my little niece watches me and yells, ‘Go, Aunty!’ at the screen, so I should probably stick around here for a while to keep her happy.”

Actor crush!

Zoe and Mogana, who starred in Nothing Trivial and the cult Kiwi comed Housebound, were first introduced at Unitec in Auckland, where they both studied drama but were in different classes.

“We never really got the chance to get to know each other very well back then,” explains Zoe. “But we had run into each other a few times over the years and recognised each other immediately when I turned up for my audition.

“It was really lovely to see her again and it’s been so nice getting to know her this year. We’ve become really close since I started filming and now I have a bit of an actor crush on her, I have to admit!”

Image: Tina Smigielski

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