Actress Anna Hutchison hails from the North Shore and is well-known for earlier roles on Shortland Street, Shore-based Go Girls and the Australian Underbelly series. She has spent the past few years based in the USA working on international film and television projects. Now married to film producer Mike Gillespie and with a wee girl, Anna shared some insights with us following her recent visit back home to work.
Anna, we understand you recently returned to the North Shore from living in Los Angeles. Tell us where your current home is.
Our home is in Los Angeles, but I have been filming in various locations in Auckland and have been staying in Devonport. These last months of travelling have really been a case of ‘Home is where the heart is’. Fair to say it’s wherever our little babe is. And I’ve been lucky enough to have my mum caring for her while I’ve been working, so it’s been wonderfully easy to create a ‘home’ feeling in all the spots we have been staying.
You now have a family?
Yes, I have a gorgeous little daughter who is enjoying running around on all the different beaches the Shore has on offer!
What do you love most about your home?
I love how hard my husband has worked on it to make it our haven. When we first bought the place it seemed like each wall was a different colour. The day we moved in I flew off to Kentucky to film a movie, and when I returned a month later my husband had painted every wall white and moved us in. It was really wonderful to come home.
Do you have a favourite room or space you like to relax in?
Our outdoor area is wonderful. I wanted to create a Palm Springs feeling but in Los Angeles. It gets really warm where we are, so at least eight months of the year are spent outside and we have totally transformed the backyard into our own little oasis: perfect for outdoor living. We love entertaining and my husband loves grilling and smoking meat, so he has built a fabulous outdoor kitchen which is terrific. It’s a lovely peaceful spot to relax away from the traffic and hustle and bustle of LA.
You were in California during the early days of Covid-19 lockdown. What did you love the most about being at home, and what did you not like so much?
It was wonderful that the backyard renovations were finally finished, and we were able to enjoy our home together. My husband was working from home so we all got to spend time together. At the same time, the longer my husband was home the more he started tinkering with other areas in the house to renovate, so it was quite nice when he went back to the office! It was difficult being away from New Zealand and my family but there was a lot of FaceTime happening!
What do you miss the most about the Shore?
I miss the proximity to the beach. Growing up in Devonport I was never further than two minutes from a beautiful beach. I try to get to the beach at least once a week in LA but it involves quite a car ride and the water at Malibu isn’t as gorgeous as Cheltenham or Narrow Neck. It’s freezing!! I’ve done a few triathlons in the Malibu area and I think my swimming time is so fast because I want to motor out of the water as quickly as possible!
Have you noticed much has changed since your time spent filming Shore-based TV series Go Girls 10 years ago?
Absolutely! It feels completely different. Having gone to school on the Shore you know heaps of people and everything feels familiar, but as time goes on family and friends move and settle in all different corners of the world. Our family used to all live within a few streets of each other which was wonderful when we were growing up. We were only ever a few minutes from Nana and Grandad. And now Little & Friday café has moved from Eversleigh Road. I used to love going there on Saturday and Sunday mornings and buying way too many cakes, meringues and fudge. What a delicious café!
You’ve been busy over the past few years working on international films and tv series, what has your recent project here in New Zealand been?
I’m starring in a Canadian/New Zealand co-production called A Love Yarn. It has been the most wonderful experience reconnecting with crew that I worked with on Shortland Street and Go Girls. Being able to bring my daughter back to Auckland and have time on the Shore with my family, visiting beaches I used to spend so much at has been such a magic experience.