I want the choice – NZ actress on euthanasia.

By Peata Melbourne

Top New Zealand actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand has weighed in on the euthanasia debate saying she’d like to have the freedom to choose her own fate if she became terminally ill.

“Kei a koe te tikanga (It’s up to you). It’s a huge question. I think I’d like to have the choice in the same way that my body is my body and I want to have the choice of what to do with it.”

Ward-Lealand spoke to Maori Television’s Kawekōrero last night at Auckland’s Q Theatre at the premiere of her new film, Vermilion. Ward-Lealand’s character is diagnosed with a brain tumor and is forced to deal with her mortality.

The mainstream film’s opening scene has characters speaking te reo Māori. A veteran of stage and screen, Ward-Lealand, who speaks Māori, has been an advocate for the language for many years. She says her influence ensured that the language was represented in her new film.

Vermilion opens in New Zealand on November 8.