Home and Away EXCLUSIVE: Rob Kipa-Williams spills on a possible return
The star played Ari Parata on the soap from 2019 to 2022.
Home and Away fans have been calling for fan favourite Rob Kipa-Williams, who played Ari Parata, to make a return to Summer Bay. The star quit the show in March 2022 after his character was killed off in an emotional scene.
It’s a common soap trope to bring back characters from the dead, with popular storylines including a secret twin sibling or faking their own death. In Rob’s case, the Māori actor has grown his hair longer and now sports a bushy beard, so fans believe he could even come back as a completely new character.
While the Kiwi actor is busy focusing on his Māori immersion studies and working on his Polynesian meditation app HAAAA, he tells Yahoo Lifestyle that acting is still very much one of his passions.
He’s had numerous roles over the years, with the Napier-born actor previously appearing in Seven’s 800 Words and New Zealand soap Shortland Street.
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“Obviously, one of the big questions [fans ask is]: ‘Are you still going to keep acting?’. Absolutely, absolutely. I love acting,” he tells us. “I guess acting works in an interesting way. You never really get a choice on when it comes around. So I guess for me, it’s just when the right opportunity comes my way,” he says.
He looks on his time in Summer Bay fondly, and admits that he would return if he was asked.
“I would consider going back for a short stint, for sure. Why not?” he laughs. “There’s some interesting theories that different fans have posted up about how I could come back.”
‘I was blown away’: Rob’s response to his character’s tangi
Rob had quite a collaborative process with the writers on Home and Away, giving guidance around the Māori culture and providing his own experiences.
When he heard his character was going to be killed off, he asked if the writers would consider ‘honouring his culture’ to give him a tangihanga, a traditional funeral often referred to as a tangi.
“They were so bold to say yes, and to go to such great lengths. And I think Ethan [Browne] was really involved in the process of finding some really key people to be involved in that,” he recalls.
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In the heartbreaking episode, Ethan, who plays Rob’s onscreen brother Tane Parata, helped carry the coffin out of the house before leading an emotional haka. When Rob watched the episode, he was instantly transported back to his grandmother’s tangi.
“I’m really proud [of] what the team at Home and Away [did]. I was explaining to [the writers] when I was at my grandmother’s tangi, she was really well known. And as we carried her out, there were rows, and rows, and rows of just the local iwi tribe, doing the haka, as we carried her through.
“[I was] really blown away by it to be honest,” he adds.
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