The Paratas have already made a big impact in Summer Bay, and the arrival of Ari and Gemma’s bad boy brother Tane completes the chaotic clan – Home and Away’s first indigenous Maori family.
Newcomer Ethan Browne, who plays tearaway Tane, praises the Australian soap for addressing diversity among the ensemble, but admits to feeling pressure in the portrayal.
“There is pressure to get it right as you’re representing a specific group of people and that’s a big part of who we are,” he says, speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com. “I think it’s a positive step whenever culture or diversity is implemented and I hope it opens doors for more indigenous culture and cultural stories, and more diverse characters.
“I’m representing all indigenous cultures I feel, and doing this for all of them.”
All the actors playing on-screen relatives had input into bringing the Paratas to life, reveals Browne. “We worked together closely as all four of us are Maori and have grown up in a Maori home and with a Maori upbringing.
“We did our best to bring our own experiences to the table and talk to the writers and producers about how we conduct our lives and rituals, everyone has been so open to it. And we also have a Maori adviser onboard to help the writers, so everything is as accurate as possible.”
Tough guy Tane’s relationship with big brother Ari is fractious to say the least, due to the complicated familial history. “They have different viewpoints,” says Browne. “Tane is about 10 years younger and watched Ari and his older brother Makaere, now deceased, live a life of crime and Tane naturally followed in their footsteps.
“Ari went to prison for about eight years and comes out a changed man, by this time Tane has grown up and is making a good living out of criminal activity himself! Ari tries to tell him what to do and how to live his life, but Tane thinks he has no right.
“There’s also tension with Ari’s son Nikau, who Tane has a special bond with – Ari is scared he’s going to lead him astray. Gemma is more like a mother than a sister to Tane so they are also close.”
As Tane organises a home for the whole family to live in, the stage is set for a battle between the siblings to be head of the clan. “As they’ve been living in a car and staying on the Palmers’ sofa, Tane is disappointed Ari hasn’t provided like he should have. This prompts him to think ‘I’ll do it if you can’t!’ So they clash over that.
“He also eyes up Mackenzie, who is dating his brother. Another way for him to make a stand against Ari!”
Browne warns this is just the beginning of Tane’s antagonistic antics which are set to spice up the sleepy coastal town, but insists like any hot-headed Home and Away bad boy there’s an decent bloke beneath the brooding and biceps…
“Tane is very determined and a bit of a rebel, though deep down he’s good-hearted and a family-orientated guy. But he is definitely going to stir up trouble. Mostly with Ari!”