Celebrity News

Celebrating the life of Pua Magasiva

We pay tribute to the life and career of the much-loved actor who tragically died aged 38.
Loading the player...

Shortland Street actor Pua Magasiva touched the lives of many. The husband, father, brother, son and friend made a big impact in his 38 years.

Born in Apia, Samoa, Pua’s family moved to Wellington when he was two years old. One of six siblings – five brothers and a sister – it was his older brother, fellow actor Robbie Magasiva, who suggested Pua get into acting. And he was destined for fame, it seems.

“I always knew he’d end up doing this and have a high profile, his twin brother Tanu told the Woman’s Weekly in 2015. “Pua is even more of an extrovert than Robbie. It’s what he’s been heading to all his life.”

Pua and his twin bother Tanu shared a close bond since birth. “I’ve always been the extrovert – the show-off of the family,” Pua told the Woman’s Weekly in 2015, “while Tanu hates being centre of attention.”

Pua shot to fame playing nurse Vinnie Kruse in Shortland Street in 2003. He starred in 451 episodes, leaving the show in 2006 but making his return in 2011 where he continued in the role until 2018.

That wasn’t his first appearance in the soap, however. His first TV acting role was on Shortland Street in 1999 playing the character of Elvis Iosefa.

In 2003, the same year he landed his permanent role in Shortland Street, he won the lead role in Power Rangers: Ninja Storm. He also starred alongside his brother Robbie in the critically acclaimed 2006 film Sione’s Wedding.

Pua was known for his kind nature and ready smile. In 2017 he made headlines when he helped pull a man from the burning wreckage of a car after a crash in Orewa. His heroic actions were praised by Police who said he and the other good Samaritans on the scene had “no doubt saved this man’s life.”

Pua has an 8-year-old daughter, Jasmine, from his marriage to his first wife Kourtney. He met his second wife Lizz Sadler on Instagram in 2016 and popped the question 10 months later in Queenstown during a romantic helicopter flight.

Pua and Lizz married in an emotional ceremony in April 2018. “People might say this has happened too fast,” the actor said on his wedding day, “but when love hits you with this intensity, you don’t want to spend a second apart.”

Pua’s family have asked for privacy at this tragic time. They want to “acknowledge the public outpouring of love for Pua and to thank all those who’ve expressed their condolences and offered their support.”

Pua Magasiva: 1980 – 2019

Pua secured the lead role in Power Rangers: Ninja Storm in 2003, the same year he landed his role as Vinnie Kruse in Shortland Street.

As well as acting together in Power Rangers and Sione’s Wedding, Pua and his brother Robbie Magasiva also starred together in Shortland Street.

Pua starred as the title character in the critically acclaimed 2006 film Sione’s Wedding.

Pua and his on-screen love interest Sally Martin. The long-time friends first met on the set of Power Rangers before starring together in Shortland Street.

For Pua and Sally, being close friends in real life made it easy to play the characters of Vinnie and Nicole. “Pua is your dream castmate,” Sally said in 2014. “Obviously that friendship helps, but he’s also really, really good at what he does.”

Pua on the set of Shortland Street with his on-screen son Michael, played by Duane Evans Jr.

Pua and Lizz Sadler became engaged in 2017 after a whirlwind 10 month romance. “I was listening to my heart,” Pua said. “When I proposed, I knew it was the right thing to do.”

Pua and Lizz married in an emotional wedding in April 2018. “When I look in your eyes, all I can see is my forever,” he told his beautiful bride.

Pua was known as a “bloody good guy.” Broadcaster Mike Puru said “he would always stop and say hello to anyone that would say hi to him.”

“We’ve always been really tight,” Pua says of his twin brother Tanu. “I can’t remember a time when Tanu wasn’t there for me.” They have struggled at times, however, to convince people they are twins. “Because we look so different, no-one believes we’re twins,” says Tanu. “People think we’re having them on.”

Pua’s Shortland Street family are in shock at the news of his passing. South Pacific Pictures, the makers of the show, said in a statement “We are all absolutely devastated at the tragic news regarding Pua Magasiva. Pua was a much loved member of the South Pacific Pictures’ family for many years and our hearts and thoughts go out to Pua’s family at this time.”

A statement was released on behalf of the Magasiva family. “Pua’s family members are in the acute stage of grief and are not in a place to comment at this time other than to acknowledge the public outpouring of love for Pua and to thank all those who’ve expressed their condolences and offered their support.”

Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories