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Shortland Street stars inspired by their teachers

Shortland Street stars inspired by their teachers

Two Shortland Street stars say they were inspired by their teachers on their journey to become actors.

Actors Matthew Chamberlain, who plays Murray Cooper, and Sam Bunkall, who plays Boyd Rolleston on the popular show, have shared their stories with the University of Auckland’s #MyTeacherMoment campaign.

Launched in early July, #MyTeacherMoment is a social media campaign and competition, developed by the Faculty of Education and Social Work to help raise the status of teaching in New Zealand while celebrating the incredible things our teachers are doing in our schools and communities. The competition will also see one lucky school win $5,000 worth of technology.

People can enter the competition by sharing their most inspiring teacher moment either through the competition entry form on or directly onto their Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #MyTeacherMoment as well as #the-name of a school or early childhood centre they want to win. The public will vote on their favourite moment, and every vote is an extra entry into the prize draw.

In his video message, Matthew says it was his year 12 English teacher at Wanganui Collegiate who helped inspire him to try acting.

He had long being bored of English classes, but a teacher from the UK called Nigel Wheeler changed that.

“In comes this sort of slightly tubby, curly haired guy and he immediately surveys the classroom and says ‘right, this all looks a bit boring doesn’t it? Let’s shift it around a bit’.”

“We were just thinking, who is this guy?”

“He got us moving all the chairs round, he changed the whole classroom around, and within about 15 minutes I was going, oh he could be alright.”

Matthew says the class started reading Shakespeare and for the first time he found he enjoyed and understood it.

“It just flicked on a switch for me as far as, this is what teaching could be like and this is what English could be like.

“As he rolled out as a teacher he was fantastic. He gave me some of the confidence to pursue acting which in the back of my mind I really wanted to do but I didn’t know whether I could actually do it.”

For Sam, it was his drama teacher at Christ’s College Christchurch.

“I had this drama teacher at my high school, his name was Ricky, he came over from the UK and started this new post as a drama teacher."

“The way he taught about drama created this community of people that were just blown away by what he was doing,” says Sam.

“He really got us to think critically about theatre and all the different kinds of theatre around the world.

“This impacted my views about teachers hugely."

“I truly believe that’s why I do what I do because that person came along and showed me how important this work was. He really inspired me.”

Learn more about this campaign or, even better, get involved yourself by going to

View Matthew and Sam’s videos here.


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