Head High
Whanau. School. Rugby. Life. A brand new family drama that honours the real life struggles of everyday people.

Mana and Tai Roberts are star players of Southdown High School’s First XV, which under the guidance of their step-father and coach Vince O’Kane, has just made it into Auckland’s premiere tournament, the 1A. Stakes are high – the struggling, low-decile school desperately needs a win. But the team takes a blow when Christian Deering – Southdown High First XV captain and Mana’s best friend – is poached by their bitter rivals, wealthy neighbouring private school Saint Isaac’s College. This sets in motion an all-out war between the two schools. As the bad blood spills over, Mana and Tai’s mum Renee has to deal with the brawls – she’s the local cop and she’s starting to get sick of rugby and the trouble it brings. She’s already trying to raise her sons, and her daughter Aria, who lives in the shadow of her rugby-playing brothers. And as if that’s not enough, big-hearted Renee opens her home to troubled solo-mother Gabrielle and her rebellious son Riley, to help them cope with a tragedy. Now Renee has a full house – and a husband who seems to only be able to focus on what’s happening on the field, instead of in his own whare. Set mostly in the home of a struggling but energetic, vibrant young working-class family, six drama-packed episodes will culminate in the all important 1A final – Southdown High versus Saint Isaac’s College, where we will find out whether the game of rugby can bring whanau and community together… Or might everything just fall apart?

Press & EPK

Press Reviews

  • Joe Naufahu's own life mimics the stories of Head High  Monika Barton

  • Craig Hall talks all things Head High  Mike Hosking

  • Miriama McDowell on the industry, representation and mentoring Maori talent  Siena Yates

  • Robbie Magasiva comes home. Kate Rodger

  • Head High star Lionel Wellington talk about his Taonga Dione Joseph

  • 'When You’re Born Into Nothing, You Learn To Find Happiness In Nothing' Meet Rising Star Te Ao o Hinepehinga Rauna Emma Clifton

  • Current and former All Blacks to make guest appearance on Head High  Ricardo Simich

  • Robbie Magasiva tackles new role on Head High Kerry Harvey

  • Head High star is singing his own tune. Kerry Harvey

  • Review: Head High asks us to consider how our young men are shaped by rugby | The Spinoff Alice Soper

  • Head High a taonga for New Zealand, says actor Miriama McDowell  Kerry Harvey

  • Head High Season 2 welcomes new stars. Ricardo Simich

  • Miriama McDowell wins Best Actress, Jayden Daniels wins Best Supporting Actor for their roles on Head High at the NZTV Awards, 2020 NZTV Awards

  • Head High's teen trauma close to home for young actor Kerry Harvey

  • The Truth About Us. The Wisdom From a New Local Show and its Leading Lady. Nicola Dewe

  • NZ's notorious TV bad guy Mike Edward on being abused in public and his new role in Head High Monika Barton

  • Trying times for family at center of rugby drama. Kerry Harvey

  • Rugby has featured heavily in New Zealand's legend - from Greg McGee's Foreskin's lament and Lloyd Jones' Book of Fame to feature films about Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, and TV docudramas Jonah and The Kick. Now, it's the subject of that rare thing, a prime-time TV family drama series. Head High is about to hit the screen on TV 3. Lynn Freeman talks with writer and director Tim Worrall about the dramatic possibilities of our national game. Lynn Freeman

  • Review: Head High is the best and most complex NZ drama in years Duncan Grieve

  • Joe Naufahu on how rugby keeps cropping up in his life.  Siobhan Downes

  • ‘I know these people’: Miriama McDowell on leading the pack in Head High Sam Brooks

  • How Miriama McDowell's new drama Head High tackles poverty, privilege and rugby Karl Puschmann

  • Theresa Healey on life and acting.  Elisabeth Easther

  • There’s never been a shortage of Māori stories. But it’s no easy path for them to make it on to mainstream television in prime time. That’s what’s happening, though, with Head High. Dale Husband

  • Budding Northland actor lands role in new TV drama series.  Jenny Ling

  • Te Ao o Hinepehinga Rauna has been cast as Aria O'Kane in the upcoming TV series, Head High. Mark Peters

  • Two former Shortland Street favourites are kicking goals in the new rugby drama Head High. Kerry Harvey

  • Cast as 17-year-old rugby star Mana Roberts in the new Three drama series, Head High, Daniels realised he was going to have to remember what it was like to be a teenager all over again.  New Zealand Herald


Best Actor Nominee: Craig Hall - NZTV Awards 2022

Best Actress Nominee: Miriama McDowell - NZTV Awards 2022

Best Actress: Miriama McDowell - NZTV Awards 2020

Best Supporting Actor: Jayden Daniels - NZTV Awards 2020

Rachel Jean

Tim Worrall; Awanui Simich Pene; Damon Fepulea'i

Executive Producer(s):
Kelly Martin; Sally Campbell; Andrew Szusterman

Kate McDermott; Shoshanna McCallum; Tim Worrall; Joss King; Nick Malmholt

Cruz Kingi
Jordi Webber
Mitch Belsham
Robbie Magasiva
Nic Belsham
Dylan Thuraisingham
Renee O'Kane
Miriama McDowell
Vince O'Kane
Craig Hall
Mana Roberts
Jayden Daniels
Tai Roberts
Lionel Wellington
Aria O'Kane
Te Ao O Hinepehinga
Gabrielle Deering
Andi Crown
Jesse Roberts
Joe Naufahu
Riley Deering
Brooklyn Nathan
Production Year

TV Series