Article from the Advertiser (9 December 2004) - Michala's wish, just to see mum

Michala Banas can hardly wait to get back to
New Zealand for Christmas after the year's
filming on McLeod's Daughters wraps for the year.

MICHALA Banas's festive wish list is looking decidedly sparse. Days away from finishing filming for the year on McLeod's Daughters, the New Zealand native is just looking forward to going home.

Banas, who has become an international export of sorts with the series aired to more than 120 countries worldwide, will spend Christmas with her mother, Laurinda Lewis, in Karaka, south of Auckland. And that's present enough for Banas.

"I'm getting to the point where I don't really care (about presents) anymore," says Banas, who last month celebrated her 26th birthday (she scored an iPod mini).

"It used to be such a big deal but I hit my mid 20s and got over it. I told my mum not to send me a birthday present anymore and that's not like me." As a child, however, Christmas presents were "really important" to Banas which is partly why she is lending support to The Smith Family's 2004 Christmas Appeal, themed Light up a Life. "So many children don't have presents to open or any special food for Christmas lunch," she says.

"It's not their fault what family or lifestyle they're born into.

"To think that some kids don't get any presents is really sad - they have no tree, no food, no nothing, Christmas is just another bad day for a lot of people and that's awful."

The appeal is targeting a figure of $4 million nationally for underprivileged families this Christmas. 

Thanks to Heletia from for this article!