Home and Away has announced a new casting for 2023.
Kyle Shilling is joining the Australian soap as Mali Hudson, a new character who will turn up and have a connection with an established favourite.
“Our new Summer Bay local Mali Hudson will be making waves in 2023,” the soap’s official Twitter account wrote, alongside an image of Kyle, as Mali, with a surfboard.
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Over on his Instagram, the star wrote: “It’s official ladies and gentlemen. Stoked to be a part of the amazing family/team of @homeandaway. It’s been nothing but an absolute privilege to work with everyone involved.
“Can’t wait for you all to see the story of ‘Mali Hudson’ BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS CONTINUED TO SUPPORT ME.”
Kyle is from the Widjabul clan of the Bundjalung Nation, and 7News reports that Home and Away has been working with a script consultant on creative decisions including storylines for Mali, including how he will be introduced to viewers.
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“If I had seen someone like me on a popular TV show when I was a kid, I would have been more driven as a young person to want to better myself and explore acting,” Kyle told Perth Now.
“As Indigenous people, we are always categorised as athletes; there was never any other avenue I thought I could go down. When you feel like you’re stereotyped your whole life, that has a huge effect.
“Looking back on my 10-year-old self, if I had seen someone like Mali Hudson on such a big series, I would have wanted to be him.”
This casting follows on from reports that Kawakawa Fox-Reo has left the role of Nikau Parata, having wrapped up his final scenes already after three years on the soap.
Earlier this year, the actor told Digital Spy about how he was “proud and honoured” to provide Māori representation through his role, stating: “It’s a nice little insight into what our culture has to offer.
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“It’s such a huge thing too and I think the things that are shown on the show are nice little snippets of a very big world that’s very rich. I’m happy to promote [the Māori culture] whenever I can, for sure. I’m super proud and honoured to get the opportunity to do that on a show like this.
“I want people back home to feel proud, so any opportunity I do have I will take with both hands.”
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1.45pm on Channel 5 and 6pm on 5STAR. First-look screenings air at 6.30pm on 5STAR and the show also streams on My5.
In Australia, the show airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7pm on Channel 7 and streams on 7plus.
Selected classic episodes are available via Prime Video in the UK.
Read more Home and Away spoilers on our dedicated homepage.