Shorty star Zak Martin and brother Jake on their new podcast

The actor and his sibling Jake are sharing their unique gifts with the world

“You’ll have to forgive us,” croaks former Shortland Street star Zak Martin as he sits down with the Weekly. Gesturing towards his little brother Jake, he adds, “We did a haka this weekend for one of our friend’s 21st birthdays, so we’re still a bit hoarse!”

Shorty fans will remember a stirring haka was how viewers were introduced to Zak’s character Dr Rahu Parata at his cousin Desi’s wedding in 2022. But now, with Rahu dying at the hands of Harry Warner at the end of last year’s cliffhanger, Zak is relishing his life after Ferndale.

“It’s been four months since I finished and it’s been beautiful,” says Zak, 25. “I’ve actually been able to stop and look outward, and do the things I’ve been thinking about and wanted to do over the last few years. Shorty was amazing, but the workload is so heavy, you’re in that machine constantly. So now I’ve left the machine, it’s been nice to have some really beautiful moments with my family and my brother – and myself!”

Brother Jake (left) and Zak. “We have each other’s back!”

Talented in both acting and sport, Zak’s role on Shorty almost didn’t happen – a wrist injury put paid to his dream to represent New Zealand in boxing at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, freeing him up for the role on the long-running soap – much to his mum Michelle’s relief as more acting means less chance of injuries in the ring!

But now he’s turned his back on Ferndale, Zak is looking forward to new projects, most notably a new podcast with Jake, 21, aptly named The Martin Show.

The brothers have a close relationship. They’re so tight, some people even think they’re twins. And while they most definitely have some differences – Jake’s a little naturally louder, Zak’s the thinker while Jake’s the doer, Zak is the one with a sweet tooth, as evidenced by the empty packet of honey-roasted cashews he’s just chucked in the bin – the boys can’t think of anything better than working together to build a community.

“We’ve wanted to do this for so long and it’s really exciting that it’s finally happening,” says Jake.

There’s no Shorty comeback for Zak’s killed off character Rahu.

Adds Zak, “We are very, very close. We grew up with just the two of us and our amazing mum, and we are so lucky to have the bond that we do have – our brotherhood is so strong. And sometimes I feel bad for other people because I’m like, ‘Man, I wish you could experience what we have.’ I wouldn’t change our relationship for the world.”

The brothers will be sitting down with guests, as well as chatting amongst themselves on their podcast, which Zak describes as “love, laughter and mana”.

“It’s about sharing our gifts,” explains Zak. “I truly believe we can touch people in a different way and show that, yeah, you can be stoic and stern, but also with vulnerability that everyone has deep down. Everyone has vulnerability, but we live in a society where a lot of us feel like we’re unable to show it. So I feel like our show won’t really tell people what to do, but help them feel guided and learn something about themselves through us. Oooooh – that was deep. I should write it down!”

And along with their burgeoning podcast, the brothers are also planning on indulging their other big, shared passion – boxing.

“We absolutely love it,” says Jake. “It’s our release. I love competing – I fought at Golden Gloves last year and I took it out, so I’m going to keep going with that.”

And now he doesn’t have the pressures of Shorty, Zak is also keen to resume his own boxing journey – in fact, both him and Jake will take part in the Lethal Ladies fight night on February 23.

“Even when I couldn’t fight, I was there for my brother’s fights,” says Zak. “But now I’m back in the ring and it’s been a long time coming – I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself!”

While they might duke it out in the ring, there’s no barmy when it comes to the podcast – or, in fact, their entire relationship.

“We just love each other and really really love hanging out with each other,” says Zak. “We’re excited to share our bond with everyone!”

Find the brothers on Instagram @_themartinshow

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