on screen as Shortland Street’s Callum ocKay, his life has been hanging in the balance, but off screen, Peter oochrie’s world has never been rosier.
The actor is “extraordinarily happy” after his first year with wife Sally and son Cade.
“Cade has made our life joyous,” says Peter, as he relaxes in their elegant home overlooking east Auckland. “In the last few weeks, he’s really come alive, his intelligence is rapidly developing. I really feel he’s onto it, he understands how things go.”
Peter accepts not all babies are easy. “We’re very thankful. We race down to his room at seven o’clock every morning and he’s ready to go. He’s so gorgeous.”
They decided not to use nannies, Peter says, “We want to be there for him because he trusts us.”
Quiet family life suits the couple. “It’s about our ages,” says Sally. “We’ve partied, we’ve travelled, so it’s not major for us if we miss out on adventures. It’s an adventure with him and it beats everything. I love it.”
Peter smiles, “our home life is so rich and he’s such a joy to us.”
Just as Peter’s Shortland Street character Callum is tortured over losing his love Rachel (Angela Bloomfield), Peter admits his own love life hasn’t always gone smoothly.
“But you’ve got to have gone down into the valley to see what the valley’s about. As each challenge comes up, you’ve got the experience to know what decision to make.
“I’m 51 and I met the love of my life a long way down the track. I’ve had a lot of experiences, and not all of them were easy. It can be difficult, but your soul grows and goes on as you evolve.”
His experiences help him understand his character. “You’re expressing the emotions of someone who’s experienced a lot, and that’s what a good actor should do – portray emotions that everyone can identify with.”
He’s still amazed at how Sally (41) came into his life three years ago.
“I went to a lunch and I saw her across the room. When Sally was in the bathroom, I said to her friend, ‘Does your friend have a boyfriend?’ She said, ‘Yes’.
“I thought nothing of it, but the next night I was at the Viaduct in Auckland and saw her again. It was amazing. I heard her friend say, ‘There’s that guy again!’ Then I went to work and said to a colleague, ‘I’ve seen this girl, she’s really stunning and I really have something for her.’
“Then, three weeks later, I was having dinner on Ponsonby Rd and I was talking to someone about this girl, and he said, ‘There’s this book called The Game, that says if you see a girl you’ve got to talk to her within 20 seconds.’
“As he’s saying it, there she is! I went and said, ‘Hi, I’m Peter,’ and she said, ‘Hi, I’m Sally.’ We’ve been together ever since.”
Their meetings were uncanny, he says. “The first one is coincidence, the second one is meaningful, the third is significant.”
It turned out that Sally didn’t have a boyfriend, although she was dating.
“It’s a romantic story,” she says, “Considering Peter had been here over a year and we’d never seen each other, but we were always at the same places.”
Peter and Sally, a beauty industry brand manager, married a year ago at their home, after “growing into the idea”.
Sally says that despite their 11-year age difference, she and Peter are a perfect match. “Because of our ages, you don’t muck around. You know what’s right.”
Their happiness was sealed when Cade was born two years after they met.The pair say he’ll be an only child. “I’ve always just wanted one,” says Sally. Peter adds, “I just want one to adore.”
He doesn’t plan ahead. “I’ve found that if you trust everything’s going to be okay, then it will be.
“I’ve had a fantastic career in Australia and I came here and did a film in 2004 and said to my agent, ‘If something comes up in New Zealand