Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira


Award winning Actress, MC, Fluent Te Reo Speaker, 2020 New Zealander of the Year

Since training at Auckland’s Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for nearly 40 years. Most recently she has trained as an Intimacy Coordinator for stage and screen and is currently working in this role in the industry.

Jennifer was a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of the drama school, The Actors' Program. She is President of Equity New Zealand, Patron of Q Theatre and Theatre New Zealand and serves as a trust board member of the Actors Benevolent Fund. In the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, she was named an ONZM for services to theatre and the community. In 2018 she was named SPADA Industry Champion and in this year’s New Year’s Honours List, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to theatre, film and television. In 2019 she was presented with a Woman of Influence Award (for arts and culture) and was most recently honoured as the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2020.

Her stage work includes Twelfth Night, August: Osage County, Lysistrata and Six Degrees of Separation for ATC. The Goat, Brel (Metro Magazine’s #1 Cultural Experience 2012) and The Book of Everything (Best Ensemble & Excellence Awards, Auckland Theatre Awards 2015) for Silo Theatre. She tours her Marlene Dietrich Cabaret, Falling in Love Again, throughout New Zealand and Australia. Most recently she performed in Six Degrees of Separation for Auckland Theatre Company and Delicious Oblivion for the Auckland Live Cabaret Festival. Jennifer directed the play Provocation as part of Pride Festival 2020.

Jennifer’s film work includes The Footstep Man, Desperate Remedies, and new NZ feature film, Vermilion (Best Actress award Los Angeles Film Awards and Award of Excellence: Actress in Accolade Global Film Competition). Television and web series include Full Frontal, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Auckland Daze, The Almighty Johnsons, Awkward Love, High Rd, Friday Night Bites, The Ring Inz II and Dirty Laundry.


Auckland, New Zealand


After Dinner Speaker, Broadcaster, Celebrity, Compere/MC, Debator, Documentary, Field Presenter, Judge, Keynote Speaker, Live Performance Host, MC / Stage compere, Panellist, Reality/Entertainment Host, Singer, Speech Writer, Television


Current Affairs, Dance, Directing, Film & Television, Music, Musical Theatre, Opera, Parenting, Producing, Race Relations, Research, Theatre, Travel


Testimonials (11)

Auckland Live Dame Kiri Te Kanawa - Nov 2019

Auckland Live was fortunate to be able to work with Jennifer Ward-Lealand as the MC on our recent Gala Concert in the Presence of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. The script required Jennifer to use several different languages including Māori, Italian, German, and French which she handled with poise and professionalism. She was extremely thorough in her preparation for the event, expertly navigated various last minute changes in rehearsals, and was a calm, assured and warm presence on stage throughout the concert. It was reassuring to know the event was in such safe hands and both we, and all our event partners were delighted with her contribution to the evening.

Usha Bhana and Georgina Cervin - Auckland Live