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Media release: December  3 2015

Dame Kate Harcourt receives Lifetime Achievement Award

More than 200 actors, friends and wellwishers gathered for an evening honouring the achievements of Dame Kate Harcourt.

The 88-year-old actor is the inaugural winner of the 2015 Equity Lifetime Achievement Award. Sponsored by Ryman Healthcare.

Described as a pioneer who didn’t just open doors for women – she bashed them down – Dame Kate is the first actor to receive the new award which has been established to honour the work done over many years by New Zealand’s best performers.

Dame Kate has starred on the stage, in television and in feature films in a career spanning more than 60 years and is still in demand as an actor and model.

Together with her husband Peter Harcourt, Dame Kate put together Junior Magazine, New Zealand’s first television show for children.

She worked in radio as the host of Listen to Mother and her feature films included Gaylene Preston’s Mr Wrong. She was a founder member of Hen’s Teeth and toured New Zealand with the comedy team.

In 2011, at the age of 84, she picked up the Best Female Actress category at the Rhode Island International Film Festival for her role in the short film Pacific Dreams and she also starred in the 2014 Christchurch earthquake series Hope and Wire.

She told guests at her awards night at Auckland’s Q Theatre that she was “immensely grateful’’ for the award.

“I’d like to thank all the marvellous actors and crews I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve had a great career but my greatest achievement of all is my family,’’ she said.

Dame Kate is the mother of actress Miranda Harcourt and Fair Go journalist Gordon Harcourt.

Her granddaughter Thomasin Harcourt-McKenzie is also an actor who has had roles in The Hobbit and Shortland Steet.

The award night was hosted by Jennifer Ward-Lealand and featured a number of tribute performances and messages from wellwishers including actor Sam Neill, director Gaylene Preston and writer Pinky Agnew.

Equity President Jennifer Ward-Lealand said: “I cannot think of a more worthy recipient for our first Lifetime Achievement Award.  Kate epitomises what this award is all about; honouring those who inspire us not only with the longevity and calibre of their acting careers, but also with their kindness, humility, good grace and generosity as mentors.”

Dame Kate was nominated by New Zealand performers and selected by the board of Equity New Zealand.

Of Dame Kate’s selection from an impressive list of nominees Equity Board member and Vice President Tandi Wright says:  “Kate has tirelessly and consistently thrown herself into this profession. She was a pioneer for women in the industry in her youth. She is an example to us all.”

Ryman Healthcare Managing Director Simon Challies said Dame Kate was a deserving winner.

“She’s had a stellar career and been a huge influence on generations of actors. I think this accolade for Dame Kate will strike a chord with our residents and we are delighted to be able to support it.’’

Ryman Healthcare is a keen supporter of the arts in New Zealand. Ryman also supports the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

About Ryman: Ryman Healthcare was founded in Christchurch in 1984 and owns and operates 28 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia. Ryman villages are home to 9,000 residents, and the company employs 4,000 staff.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, video footage, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602.


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