|Shortland Street character|
|Portrayed by||Stephanie Tauevihi|
|First appearance||1 October 1997|
|Last appearance||Episode 3140 |
25 December 2004
|Introduced by||Simon Bennett (1997)|
Harriet Crampton (2004)
|Other names||Donna Kahu|
|Occupation||Medical assistant |
Donna Heka (also Bennett) is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street , who was portrayed by Stephanie Tauevihi from 1997 to mid-2004 and again for a two episode stint in December 2004.
Donna arrived in 1997 as a potential love interest for established character Rangi Heremaia (Blair Strang). What followed, became one of Shortland Street's most iconic storylines, with the happy couple discovering they were, in fact, related. The story arc carried on for 2 years when the two realised they were not related and married on the show's 2000th episode. Despite Rangi being killed off, Donna continued on the show and soon became one of the show's longest running characters. Storylines for Donna included being framed for murder, suffering a mental breakdown and kidnapping a baby, helping clear Victor (Calvin Tuteao) of murder and becoming Chris Warner's (Michael Galvin) mistress. The character departed in mid-2004 before returning in a two episode stint on Christmas the same year.
The character's romance with Rangi is remembered as hugely iconic as well as the characters long duration.
The character of Donna was created as a love interest for established character Rangi Heremaia.Stephanie Tauevihi was cast in the role after at first worrying the producers with the lack of chemistry towards Rangi's actor, Blair Strang. Despite the fast turnaround of the show, Tauevihi enjoyed the experience of working in the soap. After 7 years Tauevihi started to feel she had lost herself in the role and decided to leave. The character was written off as departing to Australia, something which disappointed Tauevihi, who had wished Donna was going to be killed off. In 2010 Angela Bloomfield jokingly suggested that she would bring Tauevihi back if the producers could afford it.
Donna arrived to the clinic and soon started an affair with her paramedic partner Rangi Heremaia (Blair Strang). However, when Donna's family visited, the couple were shocked to learn Donna's father Joe (Tony Burton), was also Rangi's father, making the couple siblings. The two broke up and Donna fled Ferndale. She returned and became a medical assistant. After a failed attempt at a relationship with Frank Malone (Christopher Hobbs), Donna helped prove Rangi was innocent when he was accused of abusing elderly women and the two started another short lived controversial relationship. Donna briefly dated John Harlen (Matthew Chamberlain) and won a recording contract with her ex-husband Eddie Heka (Hori Ahipene). The two started an affair and Donna met Willy Whaia who she eventually suspected may be her true father. Donna had a DNA test done and was shocked to learn he was indeed her father and she was a result of an affair. However, when Willy died, his brother Te Wero confessed he was Donna's true father. Having broken up with Eddie, Donna looked forward to a future with Rangi but he had moved on and Donna rebounded with Paul Exley (Rory Williamson). Donna was framed by her neighbour for murder and Rangi helped clear her. The two finally reconciled and got married. Donna had a pregnancy scare and decided to have a family with Rangi but her low fertility forced to two to start IVF treatment.
Rangi mysteriously went missing and weeks later his body was found. A devastated Donna refused to believe he had killed himself and eventually discovered he was having an affair and his mistress' husband Kim Tairoa (Patrick Kake) had drowned him when he had announced his devotion to Donna. An emotional Donna had a one-night stand with Victor Kahu (Calvin Tuteao) and suffered a mental breakdown leading her to kidnap Harry Warner (Joshua Thompson). Following her recovery, she got together with Harry's father Chris (Michael Galvin). Donna took in Rangi's daughter Tash (Michelle Stewart) and broke up with Chris when Dom (Shane Cortese) manipulated Tash into claiming Chris had molested her and revealed that Chris had cheated on her. Donna turned to Victor for support and the two started a relationship. Whilst Victor was in remand for murder, Donna bid her farewells to Ferndale and moved to Australia with Tash. She returned to attend Tama's (David Wikaira-Paul) wedding before she returned to Australia with a newly released Victor. Toni (Laura Hill) announced Donna was going to return to be her bridesmaid but she bailed several days before the ceremony. Donna and Victor sent Chris a card to express their sadness that they could not attend Toni's funeral.
Donna was created as a love interest for the character of RangiInitially the romance was meant to be straight forward but when an incestuous storyline was suggested, producers realized the large amount of content they could produce and a storyline where the happy couple would realize they are half siblings was conducted. The revelation caused Rangi to begin drinking and Donna to flee town. However the audience related well to the couple and when producers decided to make the two sleep again, there were no complaints from fans as were expected. Due to such high audience reaction, the paternity was unraveled in 1999, setting off a cliffhanger that saw the two possibly reconcile in the new millennium. When Donna was accused of murder, Rangi helped her through it and the two reconciled and married on the show's 2000th episode. Tauevihi enjoyed the couples marital bliss stating; "I had a huge storyline ... so it's nice to give that a bit of a flick, sit back and settle into post-marital domestic bliss. There are lots of soft, gentle moments between [Donna and Rangi] which is really nice to play out when you've been doing the angst-ridden, angry, pent-up, can't talk about it stuff." The two decided to become parents but Donna was shocked to discover she was infertile, Tauevihi commented, "It's her natural desire as a woman to want to be a mother and to nurture and to reproduce, so when that's taken away from her she's totally devastated ... She feels as though she's failed Rangi. Even though he's doing his best to smooth it over and to reassure her, it's just not enough."It's a very personal issue and Donna feels totally responsible." The happiness didn't last for the couple, and Rangi went missing only to be discovered dead. Tauevihi enjoyed the storyline, stating, "It's a great storyline! It will knock everyone's socks off and it's been a great challenge for me to play." Donna discovered Rangi was cheating on her but had decided to stay with her only to be murdered by his mistress and her husband.
Tauevihi won the award for "Best Supporting Actress" in the 2000 TV Guide Television Awards.Her run of storylines have been described as "spectacular" and the character herself has been labelled, "iconic". The incestuous relationship between Rangi and Donna proved to be one of the soap's most iconic storylines, with the wedding episode being singled out as one of Shortland Street's best bits. In 2012, the character was named as one of the standout characters of the show's first 20 years.
Christopher Alexander Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who has been portrayed by Michael Galvin since the show's first episode, making him the longest running original character. Galvin quit the show in 1996, but returned to the show four years later when the show underwent a revamp. In total he has been with Shortland Street for 23 of its 27 years.
Maia Anne Jeffries is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. She was portrayed by Anna Jullienne from mid-2004 to early-2011, with the character starring in numerous high-profile storylines alongside her on screen family. The character returned as part of the show's 20th anniversary in May 2012.
Stephanie Ann Tauevihi is a New Zealand songwriter, singer and actress, known for her work as the fictional character, Donna Heka, in the New Zealand television series Shortland Street. She also played a Real estate Agent in one episode of short-lived NZ program Rude Awakenings. She has provided songs and vocals for New Zealand band Strawpeople
Antoinette "Toni" Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Laura Hill from 2001 until 2008.
Rachel McKenna is a fictional character from the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, played by Angela Bloomfield and who made her first appearance in early 1993. Bloomfield left the role in late 1999, before returning in early 2001 and departing in early 2003. She returned in a guest role in mid-2007 and again in a full-time role in late 2009 before departing once again in late 2016.
Harry Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who first appeared onscreen in May 2002. Being born on screen during the shows 10th anniversary, Harry has been portrayed by several child actors and by Reid Walker since 2009. In May 2017 Harry left for an exchange program in Japan.
Dominic "Dom" Thompson is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Shane Cortese from 2003 to 2004.
Nicholas John Harrison is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Karl Burnett from the show's second episode in 1992 to 2005, making him the original character to stay with the show the longest in one stint. The character along with wife Waverley returned for the show's 25th anniversary that aired on 25 May 2017.
Jessica "Jay" Copeland is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Jaime Passier-Armstrong from mid-2004 to mid-2007. She was the show's first lesbian regular character and longtime love interest for Maia Jeffries.
Roimata Ngatai is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, who was portrayed by Shavaughn Ruakere from January 2011 to January 2014. Initially introduced as a 3-month love interest for TK Samuels, Ruakere's contract was extended to a regular role.
Ellen Rosemary Crozier is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, who was portrayed by Robyn Malcolm for nearly six years in the mid to late 1990s.
Caroline Buxton is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, who was portrayed by Tandi Wright from late 1995 to early 2000.
Te Rangitahi "Rangi" Heremaia is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Blair Strang from 1995 to 2001.
Dr. Victor Katea Kahu is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Calvin Tuteao from late 2000 to Christmas Day 2004.
Anne Kahu is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Emmeline Hawthorne from late 2001 until early 2004. The character was killed off in the 2003 cliffhanger.