Karen O'Leary


Actor, MC and Early Childhood Teacher

You would think Karen O’Leary was a cop in another life. In her exciting career to date she has played a naive cop in Taika Waititi’s What We Do In the Shadows, where her character inspired spinoff series Wellington Paranormal; she played a salacious cop in The Breaker Upperers; a sensible cop in The Educators; and a slight dodgy security guard in webseries Potluck. In fact, Karen is a highly versatile performer with a variety of roles under her belt. She has appeared on Have You Been Paying Attention?, Seven Sharp, Anika Moa Unleashed and recently joined the Alternative Commentary Collective.

Prior to acting, Karen was working in an early childhood centre – and we all know what a tough audience kids can be! She is great at working a crowd, engaging an audience and always getting some laughs in – but she can also deliver a serious message when the occasion demands it.

Karen is truly a star for all seasons.




Wellington, New Zealand


Comedy Host, Comic & Improvisation, Compere/MC, Live Performance Host


Acting, Comedy, Education, Film & Television, Music

Speaking Topics

Education, Diversity, Can create an entertaining & inspirational talk on to suit

Event Highlights

2021Blue & Gold Awards 2021, Lincoln University - MC
2021Govtech Demo Day, Creative HQ - MC
2021NZIPA Conference & Dinner 2021, New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys - MC

Testimonials (4)

GovTech Demo Day - November 2021

Karen was an absolute boss and a seasoned pro when she recently MC'd our recent GovTech Demo Day at the Beehive as Officer O'Leary! She was a dream to work with, we improvised with things on the day as they came up and she read the room and worked with the crowd and didn't just read off of the script which was what we wanted. The feedback from our guests was hugely positive, they loved being a part of the experience and she was inundated post-event with people wanting to chat with her and have photos. She was definitely a drawcard to our event and we would hire again in a flash, highly recommend! It's rare to find speakers who are not primadonnas and I truly appreciated the humbleness of Karen...she has a way of making you feel like you just want to be pals with her and go out for a pint!

Emily Dwyer | Events & Experience Manager

Creative HQ