Ethan Rae wasn't terribly impressed when some woman called Lucy Lawless posed with him for Starship Hospital's latest fundraiser.
The four-year-old, a former patient who fronts the campaign to collect old mobile phones and sell them to raise money for the Auckland children's hospital, clearly hadn't seen the Xena TV shows that made the Kiwi actress an international star.
After all, said Lawless, "new stars aren't interested in old-timers like me".
Lawless, who recently returned to New Zealand to work on husband Robert Tapert's TV show Spartacus, is a board trustee for the Starship Foundation. She said her enthusiasm for the hospital only grew when she had to call on its services. "One of my kids went there when a cup of tea exploded - it had been in the microwave too often - and burnt his chest".
At Starship, Tapert, an American, was shocked to learn it was possible to be seen by a doctor without filling in any paperwork. "It was the child's care first, paperwork later," said Lawless.
She said her role as a board trustee was mainly about "supporting the doctors and nurses" who provide such a high quality health service.
* To donate a phone to the Starship appeal, see www.starship.org.nz