As Mitch Belsham
Magasiva fell in love with acting while on stage at Strathmore Primary School’s talent quest — he loved the kids laughing and clapping when he performed. He performed in stage musicals and then at age 16, was cast as a police cadet for a National Party TV commercial. After leaving high school, he took a variety of jobs to pay the bills, including as a postie, and as a receptionist at advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi. One of his early TV appearances was in police drama Shark in the Park in the early 90s. He then got his break with comedy sketch show Skitz. Magasiva would spend three seasons on the programme, working alongside Hori Ahipene and future Naked Samoan David Fane. He joined both of them again on two more comedy shows: Telly Laughs, and short-lived Skitz spin-off The Semisis. By the late 90s Magasiva had taken on recurring roles in acclaimed TV series Cover Story — playing a cameraman on a current affairs show — and small town drama Jackson’s Wharf (as a Christian policeman). He also appeared in Tom Scott’s TV movie police drama Tiger Country. Magasiva made his big-screen debut in 2001 in hit movie Stickmen, the tale of three blokes, two women and a high stakes Wellington pool tournament. The same year Stickmen was released, Magasiva was busy on stage dancing with Black Grace Dance Company, and joining Polynesian theatre troupe The Naked Samoans, who mine comedy from their experiences of growing up in Auckland. Magasiva would work with many of the Naked Samoan crew in 2006 movie hit Sione’s Wedding. Co-written by Oscar Kightley, Robbie reprised his role in Sione sequel Unfinished Business, which was released in early 2012. Well-known NZ Playwright Victor Rodger has cast Magasiva in several of his plays, including 1998’s Sons, for which he won a Best Male Newcomer Theatre Award, and 2006’s My Name is Gary Cooper. Magasiva drew on his high school representative rugby days to portray a staunch rugby player in 2003 tele-movie Skin and Bone and was a lead role in The Strip. Since then his TV work has included Mataku, Diplomatic Immunity, Doves of War, Shortland Street, Dirty Laundry and co-host of Tagata Pasifika. Magasiva has also found success over the ditch. He was living in Hollywood when in 2013 he was offered a part on Australian drama Wentworth, as drug addicted prison guard Will Jackson. Magasiva has been nominated for multiple awards for his Wentworth role, including a Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor. Most recently he was seen in the Kiwi crime caper Lowdown Dirty Criminals.