Fans of Home and Away have been clamoring for Ari Parata’s character, Rob Kipa-Williams, to return to Summer Bay. Following the dramatic death of his character in a television episode in March 2022, the actor left the program.
Bringing back characters from the grave is a common soap opera trope, and popular plots involve hidden twins or people who fake their own deaths. Fans speculate that Rob, a Mori actor who has grown out his hair and dons a bushy goatee, may even return as a totally different character.
The Kiwi actor tells Yahoo Lifestyle that acting is still one of his passions despite his current concentration on his Mori immersion studies and developing his Polynesian meditation app HAAAA.
The Napier native has played a variety of roles over the years, recently appearing in the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street and Seven’s 800 Words.
“Obviously, ‘Are you still going to keep acting?’ is one of the major queries [fans] have. Definitely, definitely. I enjoy playing,” he says to us. I suppose playing functions in an intriguing manner. You never really have a say in when it happens. Thus, I suppose for me, it just depends on when the perfect opportunity presents itself,” he says.
He says he has happy memories of his time in Summer Bay and that if pressed, he would go back.
“I definitely would think about returning for a brief period of time. He chuckles, “Why not? There are some intriguing theories that various fans have written about how I might return.
‘I was blown away’: Rob’s response to his character’s tangi
Rob worked closely with the writers of Home and Away, offering advice regarding Mori society and sharing his own experiences.
When he learned that his character would be killed off, he requested that the writers offer him a tangihanga, a type of traditional funeral also known as a tangi, in order to “honor his culture.”
“They had such guts to accept and go to such measures. And I believe Ethan [Browne] played a significant role in identifying some very important individuals to be engaged in that,” he recalls.
Ethan, who performs the role of Rob’s on-screen sibling Tane Parata, assisted with carrying the coffin outside before performing an emotional haka in the heartbreaking episode. When Rob viewed the episode, his memory of his grandmother’s tangi was immediately brought back.
“I’m really proud of what the Home and Away squad accomplished. I was explaining to [the writers] how well known my grandma was when I was at her tangi. And as we carried her out, there were rows upon rows upon rows of only the indigenous iwi tribe performing the haka.
To be honest, he continues, “I was really blown away by it.”