Actor with Down syndrome to appear on Shortland Street for first time in soap's nearly 27-year history

For the first time in its almost 27-year history, beloved Kiwi soap Shortland Street is set to feature its first actor with Down syndrome.

Shortland Street actor Jacob Dombroski during a scene in an episode of the TVNZ2 show. Source: TVNZ

Jacob Dombroski will play the "nice, chatty and always open-hearted" Winston, the younger brother of Lincoln and Prince Kimiora, he told the Herald on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Wellingtonian, who was born with Down syndrome, will appear on the show in three episodes, starting April 29.

Dombroski was scouted by show producer Maxine Fleming following his success with Big J Stylez, a one-man show highlighting the struggles of growing up with the genetic disorder.

It comes after Shortland Street was criticised for a storyline last August around a woman struggling with the possibility of aborting a baby with Down syndrome.