Date of Birth

10 September 1963, Auckland, New Zealand

Height

6′ 1″ (1.85 m)

Spouse

Sandra Jane Laga aia’ (16 August 1990 – present) 6 children

Multi-talented Jay Laga’aia plays Reverend Elijah Johnson who comes to the Summer Bay for the church, only to find love on the way. Jay was born in Auckland and with seven siblings was raised on a musical diet of The Osmond’s, The Jackson five, The Carpenters, The Partridge Family and The Space Family Robinson. Singing was not only a way of life, it was also a great way to pass the time as you were washing and drying dishes and doing your other chores around the house. It was only later that Jay realised he could make a living out of entertaining people.

Jay has built a successful career with extensive credits including television shows such as Bed of Roses, (ABC), Legend of the Seeker, (Fox), Xena the Warrior Princess and Water Rats (Nine.) Jay also narrates and provides all the voices for Channel Seven’s children’s show, Larry the Lawnmower and has been a regular presenter on the much loved children’s show, Playschool for the last 10 years.

Making the leap to the big screen, Jay worked on the Hollywood feature film Star Wars Episode II and III, Lord of the Rings, Vincent Wards, The Navigator, Nims Island and Daybreakers. On Stage, Jay played Mufasa in Disney’s blockbuster musical, The Lion King and Starred in Harry M Millers stage version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Jay also is a children’s recording artist with ABC music and is about to release his second children’s album. In 2007 Jay wrote, directed, created and performed his children’s show Jay’s Place at the Sydney Theatre and was awarded the Sydney Critics Award for best production for children.

Jay, who has eight children (four boys, four girls) loves his role as Elijah.

“He is not your typical Reverend. If you saw him in normal clothes, you would think he played for the Warriors or the Rabbitoes. I love watching people trying to take my character in. He is a 6’2” Polynesian man with a white collar. It is a bit of a mind spin. I try to channel Richard Chamberlain as much as I can. I feel that it is my job to allow people to talk out their solutions. When we are troubled, we normally know the answers and how to go about making things right, but we tend to have to talk them out first and then we give credit to the person listening, when in reality, the answers that were given came from yourself. That’s why I love the character; he just has to be in the scene.”

Jay struck up an instant chemistry with co-star and love interest Ada Nicodemou (who plays Leah), “When I first arrived on set, it was like the first day of school; you puffed out your chest and marched into a sea of strange faces. I was a little unsettled by the shooting style and format and it took me a couple of weeks to learn some of the ropes but it was not until I was introduced to the beautiful Greek Goddess Ada Nicodemou that I was able to settle into a rhythm. She took the time to show me the ropes.”

Jay is an Ambassador for The Touched By Olivia Foundation and The Australian Still Birth Foundation.

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