Dianna Fuemana Biography

(New Zealand Pacific Writer, Director and Performer)

Born: 1973

Born In: New Zealand

Dianna Fuemana is a New Zealander-Niuean playwright, screenplay writer, stage actress and director who is the partner of Jay Ryan, a television, film and stage actor from New Zealand. She stormed into the male-dominated New Zealand Pacific theatre sphere with her one-woman show 'Mapaki' in 1999. The critically successful play earned her nominations at the 'Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards'. Since then, she has wrote plays such as 'Jingle Bells', 'The Packer', 'My Mother Dreaming', 'Falemalama' and 'Birds'. She later turned to screenplay writing as well and worked on a few television shows and films. She is the writer, producer, director and composer of her debut short film, 'Sunday Fun Day' (2017). She collaborated with her partner Ryan in play 'The Packer' and also wrote a few episodes of the TV series 'Interrogation', in which he had a guest role.

Quick Facts

Boyfriend: Jay Ryan

Age: 51 Years, 51 Year Old Females


children: Eve Bunyan

Born Country: New Zealand

Actresses Screenwriters

Ancestry: Niuean New Zealander

Rise to Stardom
Dianna Fuemana entered the New Zealand theatre scene with her solo project 'Mapaki' (the Niuean word for 'broken') in 1999. The story, inspired by a true incident about a Niuean woman who is "a victim of domestic violence and fantasy", made her the first playwright from the New Zealand Pacific to merge the Niue and New Zealand ways of life in professional theatre.
Fuemana, who both wrote the play and starred in it, was nominated at the 'Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards' in the categories of 'Outstanding New Writer' and 'Best Upcoming Actress of the Year'. The team of 'Mapaki' went on to tour across the United States and held shows in Athens, Greece. She published her second play, 'Jingle Bells', in 2001. While still studying at the University of Auckland, she wrote her third play, 'The Packer', which was not only performed in New Zealand, Australia, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but also had several revival productions.
She joined a residency at the Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis, USA, in 2006 and published the semi-autobiographical play 'Falemalama', which is a dramatized presentation of a journey to get to New Zealand across the Pacific. During the late 2000s, she toured across North America attending several prestigious festivals and held writer residencies in the USA and in Niue. According to a 2012 report on 'Script to Screen', she wrote screenplay for television shows like 'Interrogation’ and ‘Good Hands’, and had also worked on a feature film script for the Film Commission. For her internship with Killer Films NYC in 2012, she won the 'US Screenwriting Internship Scholarship' award that year. Her debut short film, 'Sunday Fun Day', premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival, in Auckland, in July 2017.
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Personal Life
Dianna Fuemana was born in New Zealand to Canadian parents who had relocated to the country before her birth. She attended Henderson High School, and later studied at the University of Auckland from where she earned her Master of Creativity and Performing Arts degree in 2005. Her association with theatre dates back to her childhood days when she participated in church plays and was always cast in the role of Satan. She was addicted to soap operas like 'The Young and Restless' and 'Dynasty' till she was 14 years old.
At the age of 16, Dianna Fuemana left school, got married and soon gave birth to her son Solomon. Her first daughter, Reid, was born four years later. By the time she earned fame as a playwright for 'Mapaki' in 1999, she was a 27-year-old single mother of two. However, she is better recognized as the longtime partner of Jay Ryan, with whom she had developed a close friendship thanks to their involvement with stage plays in Auckland, New Zealand. He took her to the 'Logie Awards' in 2003, during which time she was known as his best friend. In the following years, Ryan has often mentioned her as his girlfriend during interviews. In 2012, he revealed to bullettmedia.com that the two had been dating for a couple years already, adding that her job as a writer allowed her to accompany him to his shoots across the world. He also mentioned that collaborating with each other was big part of their relationship and he helped produce the plays she wrote. Most notably, the two worked together on 'The Packer' which earned recognition worldwide.
In June 2013, Ryan revealed to 'TV Week Australia' that he and Fuemana had welcomed their baby daughter Eve recently. The girl was born in Canada where Ryan was filming the first season of his hit show 'Beauty and the Beast'. He revealed that they were surprised at the sudden arrival of their daughter, but were preparing to lose sleep for the next five years. While Fuemana stays away from the limelight as much as she can, pictures of her and her daughter occasionally appear on the media.
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