When looking at a map of New Zealand (Aotearoa), many people will focus on the two main islands, named fairly quickly it would seem, while looking at the compass, North Island and South Island.
However the real jewel, situated even further south, is a very small island, known as the anchor of New Zealand, called Rakiura or Stewart Island.
Back last century , 1955, on a balmy November morning, a passenger ferry cast off from the wharf at the port of Bluff, located on the southern tip of the South Island, and set its course for the beautiful Stewart Island.
Amongst the array of humanity that adorned the decks of the boat that day were one Colleen Margurite Hopkins, and her husband, local fishing legend, Bill.
They were on a delivery trip, taking home their latest creation, the last of four such creations, a baby boy, me, given the name Raymond Bruce Hopkins.
Three years later and another journey was taking place. This time the entire family was on its way to a new life in Russell, Bay of Islands.
Over the next 22 years an equation of school, university, crayfishing, sport including rugby, waterpolo(NZ schoolboys representative), surf lifesaving(bronze medal winner at
national level & member of the helicopter rescue squad), basketball and intermittent romance, plus a year in Iowa at South Tama County High as
an exchange student, somehow concocted to lead me into the world of contemporary dance.
An 8-year spell as a professional dancer (no, not the exotic or erotic kind!!!) in both New Zealand and Australia followed.
Then came the opportunity to play the role of Diesel, a member of the Jets in a Mercury Theatre Company production of Westside Story, combining dance, a newly found singing voice and acting.
After selling out (700 people per night) for 7 weeks, the seeds were sown and acting became my chosen career.
For the last 16 years I have been treading the boards of live theatre, hitting the mark in film, voicing commercials and entertaining as well as emceeing corporate events.
So there ya go, I am still around and loving what I do, I also have 3 wonderful and dare I say challenging teenage children (I hope they don't read this) and the journey continues.
Of course, my biography would not be complete without mention of the joyous experience of filming the role of “Gamling” with Peter Jackson and his absolutely amazing and vast team in The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. This was an opportunity most actors around the world can only dream of.
So many aspects of this experience were pure joy, working with the likes of Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Bernard Hill and Orlando Bloom, having to learn to ride a horse, a big bugger called Charlie at that, flying over the southern alps mountain range with Bernard Hill and Miranda Otto in a helicopter at sunset to relocate to another filming location, and the list goes on and on. Thank you Peter, Barrie, et al.
Anyway, these days I am taking singing classes with the wonderful Janice Webb, and I attempt to surf (and saying “attempt” is not me trying to be humble), I do a bit of sailing, visit elderly people and support various causes such as Amnesty International, the GE (genetically
engineered) free lobby in NZ, The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) and the Auckland City Mission.
My goal, apart from continuing to act in international films, is to maintain an open mind and an open heart.
Some photos from Bruce's fishing days. All photos copyrighted Bruce Hopkins, do not
use on other web sites.