Here comes the son

21:02, May 26 2014
Shortland Street
FATHER & SON: Shortland Street's Vinnie Kruse (Pua Magasiva) and his seven-year-old son Michael (Duane Evans Jr).

It has been a tough year for Pua Magasiva's character Vinnie Kruse on Shortland Street.

He has been unlucky in love, taken his fitness training too far and had a vending machine fall on him.

Now another challenge is in store for Vinnie with the son he left six years ago coming back into his life.

"The year has been up and down for Vinnie," Magasiva says. "Vinnie is on a journey where I think they're setting him up to start learning to become more mature.

"He makes all these mistakes with Nicole and the training and him trying to chase his love and stuff like that but that's what happens in life and reality. You make mistakes but you've got to learn from them."

Magasiva says the return of Vinnie's past love Jemima (Leisha Ward Knox) with his seven-year-old son Michael (Duane Evans Jr) will definitely be daunting.

"He left when Michael was quite young," Magasiva says. "He left and was basically caught up in his own ****... So it's a big shock and a big responsibility for Vinnie as well.

"It would be scary for any dad in reality - you'd never seen them for six years, you'd just seen photos, you've talked to them on the phone, but then they're in front of you. What do you do? It's scary to me and I'm a dad."

Ward Knox's character Jemima has been busy in the past seven years. She has remarried, lives in Kenya but returns to Ferndale when Michael wants to get to know his real father.

"Michael gets the impression that Vinnie might come to Africa," Ward Knox says. "So she's doing some damage control in the beginning, but she would more than anything love to reunite her family.

"To have his actual father in Michael's life I think is quite important to her. It's always scary because, knowing Vinnie, you never know what he's going to do."

Ward Knox has also been busy in her time away from the drama, working in both TV and theatre and says she was surprised when she was asked to return to Shortland Street.

"I didn't think (Jemima would return) because she was quite quirky and, dare I say, slightly annoying," she says. "Mind you, they need someone to stir it all up again."

Jemima is married, but Ward Knox does not rule out the possibility that she still has feelings for Vinnie.

"It's a bit of a weird one," she says. "I haven't been married myself, or divorced, or had a child but I guess when someone is the father of your child there's always going to be quite a strong connection albeit a strained or strange one."

As a father himself, of three-year-old daughter Jasmine, Magasiva has tough words of advice for Vinnie who he thinks has some growing up to do.

"Man-up and take care of your responsibility because you chose to have a child and that is the way life is," he says. "It's to teach those people out there who ran away from their children that, you know what, you're weak. You're weak for running away from your responsibility, you're weak for running away from your kids...

"Vinnie is just making a stand for all those people who haven't been there as a father for their children.

There's always time to make up for the mistakes you've made in your life. You can never hide away from them because they will creep up and get you eventually."

When it comes to giving advice to their onscreen son Michael, played by 10-year-old Duane, the seasoned actors are not sure they are qualified. In fact, Duane might be teaching them a thing or two.

"He has taught me a lot of things about myself," says Magasiva. "How to be respectable, how to have fun, how to take my work seriously and have fun at the same time.

"It's nice to have someone there as a reminder because, honestly, he's like a mini-me."

Michael has also taught Ward Knox some practical skills.

"I couldn't work the TV," she says. "I sat down and I felt like such an idiot. Then Duane just came in and picked (the remote) up and (made it work)."

Shortland Street, TV 2
Weeknights, 7pm

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