McIver was born on 10 October 1988. She was raised in Titirangi with her father, John George Whitfield "Mac" McIver (b. 1951), a photographer, and her mother, Ann "Annie" (née Coney), an artist; her parents still reside in the house she grew up in. She has an older brother, Paul McIver, who is a musician and former actor. She studied ballet and jazz dance until she was thirteen, and enjoys running. McIver also enjoys writing, and is inspired by the works of John Steinbeck, Wally Lamb and Franz Kafka. She also enjoys crossword puzzles and Sudoku. She attended Avondale College and was a prefect in her final year; she graduated in 2006. She previously studiedat the University of Auckland, and majored in Psychology and Linguistics, but did not complete her degree. Between acting jobs, she baby-sits and works part-time importing bananas with Fair Trade; she recently took part in their "All Good Bananas" promotion, as the voice of the listener's conscience. In August 2011, McIver moved from the home she shared in Wellington with her long-term boyfriend, architect Benjamin Hoeksema to Los Angeles, where she lived in the East Hollywood suburb of Silver Lake for a year. Currently, she lives in Hollywood with internet comedians Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld.
At the age of two, McIver began appearing in commercials; by the age of three, she received the role of an angel in the film, The Piano.
She has mostly worked for New Zealand television, from fantasy like Maddigan's Quest to dramas such as Rude Awakenings. She has also starred in television movies such as the Hercules film series and Maiden Voyage, as well as two Disney Channel films: Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off in 2003, and Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board in 2007, which is the sequel to the 1999 film Johnny Tsunami. From March to December 2009, she played Ranger Yellow Summer Landsdown in the television series Power Rangers: RPM for 32 episodes.
McIver's big screen debut was in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lovely Bones, which received its U.S. release on 11 December 2009. In the film, she played Lindsey Salmon, the younger sister of the main character.
She appeared in the film Predicament, based on the novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson, which was released in New Zealand and Australia on 26 August 2010. Filming took place in July and August 2009 in the towns of Hawera and Eltham. In 2011, McIver appeared in the television film Tangiwai, based on the 1953 Tangiwai rail disaster. In the film, she played Nerissa Love, the fiancée of New Zealand cricketer Bob Blair and one of the victims of the disaster. She also had a role in the comedy series Super City, playing cheerleader Candice.
She has appeared on an episode of Made in Hollywood, and on two episodes of the Irish talk show Xposé.
From 19 March to 10 April 2010 she appeared on stage at the Herald Theatre as Izzy, the best friend of the main character in That Face. McIver was also selected to participate in the 2010 Show Me Shorts Film Festival.
McIver had put her studies at the University of Auckland on hold, to travel to Los Angeles for "a couple of top-secret projects". She has been cast opposite Chris Lowell in the indie film Light Years. McIver has also been cast in Australian rules football film, Blinder, which began filming in Torquay on 20 February 2012, before moving to Boston. The film was released in March, 2013.
She has been cast as the lead character in MTV's Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys, based on the book by Eric Garcia and produced by Garcia and Krysten Ritter. McIver has also been cast as a recurring character on Showtime's Masters of Sex, which is based on the book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier. The drama will begin filming in New York in March, and will begin to air in September.
In July 2013, it was announced that McIver landed the role of Tinker Bell for a multi-episode story arc on the series, Once Upon a Time.
In February 2014, McIver was cast as the adult Cathy Dollanganger in the Lifetime television film Petals on the Wind, adapted from the book by V. C. Andrews.
In March 2014, McIver was announced to star in CW's new series iZombie as Liv.
In March 2017, it was reported that McIver was in Romania, filming a movie for Netflix.
She is represented by Sue Barnett and Associates in Australia, William Morris Endeavor in California, and Johnson and Laird Management in New Zealand.
McIver attended Avondale College and was a prefect in her final year. She graduated in 2006. She studied at the University of Auckland, and majored in Psychology and Linguistics, but did not complete her degree.
Between acting jobs, in the past she's baby-sat and worked part-time importing bananas with Fair Trade. She took part in their "All Good Bananas" promotion, as the voice of the listener's conscience. In August 2011, McIver moved from the home she shared in Wellington with her long-term boyfriend, architect Benjamin Hoeksema to Los Angeles, where she lived in the neighborhood of Silver Lake for a year. McIver enjoys writing, and is inspired by the works of John Steinbeck, Wally Lamb and Franz Kafka. She also enjoys crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
|1997||Topless Women Talk About Their Lives||Sally|
|1998||Making the Rain Breathe||N/A|
|2008||So Fresh & So Keen||Sally Poste||Short film|
|2009||The Lovely Bones||Lindsey Salmon|
|2010||Dangerous Ride||Renee||Short film|
|2012||The Dinner Party||Heather "Rose"||Short film|
|2013||Brightest Star||Charlotte Cates|
|2015||Warning Labels||Jessie||Short film|
|2015||The Answers||Paige||Short film|
|1993||Shortland Street||Holly||TV series|
|1994||Hercules and the Amazon Women||Girl (Hydra)||TV film|
|1994||Hercules in the Underworld||Ilea||TV film|
|1994||Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur||Ilea||TV film|
|1995||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys||Ilea||Episode: "The Other Side"|
|1995||Riding High||Billy||TV series|
|1996||City Life||Sophie||TV series|
|1997||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys||Ilea||Episode: "When a Man Loves a Woman"|
|1999||Xena: Warrior Princess||Daphne/Xena||Episode: "Little Problems"|
|2002||Murder in Greenwich||Sheila McGuire||TV film|
|2002||Mercy Peak||Gwyneth Couch||Episode "Cruel to Be Kind"|
|2003||P.E.T. Detectives||Genevieve||Episode: "Play It Again Evan"|
|2003||Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off||Hannah||TV film|
|2004||Maiden Voyage||Jenny||TV film|
|2006||The Amazing Extraordinary Friends||Emily Rushmore||TV series|
|2006||Maddigan's Quest||Garland||Main role (13 episodes)|
|2007||Rude Awakenings||Constance Short||Lead role (11 episodes)|
|2007||Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board||Valerie||TV film|
|2009||Legend of the Seeker||Alice||Episode: "Reckoning"|
|2009||Power Rangers RPM||Summer Landsdown||Main role (32 episodes)|
|2011||Tangiwai||Nerissa Love||TV film|
|2011||Super City||Candice||Recurring role (6 episodes)|
|2012||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Bridget Byron||Episode: "Tressed to Kill"|
|2012||Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys||Cassandra French||Unsold TV pilot|
|2013-2015||Masters of Sex||Vivian Scully||Recurring role (9 episodes)|
|2013-2015||Once Upon a Time||Tinker Bell||Recurring role (8 episodes)|
|2014||Petals on the Wind||Cathy Dollanganger||TV film|
|2014||Play It Again, Dick||Skank with Attitude||Regular role (5 episodes)|
|2015-2019||iZombie||Olivia Moore||Lead role, TV series|
|2017||A Bunch of Dicks||Johnny||Funny or Die short|
|2003||Arcadia||Thomasina Coverly||Titirangi Theatre, Auckland|
|2008||Blood Brothers||Various||Peach Theatre Company, Auckland|
|2010||That Face||Izzy||Silo Theatre Company, Auckland|
|2002||TV Guide NZ Television Awards||Best Juvenile Actor/Actress||Xena Warrior Princess ("Little Problems")||Won|
|2007||Air New Zealand Screen Awards||Best performance by an actress||Maddigan's Quest||Nominated|
|2010||Visa Entertainment Screen Awards||Best NZ Actress||The Lovely Bones||Won|
|2012||Monte Carlo Film Festival||Outstanding Actress||Tangiwai||Nominated|
|2017||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Comedy TV Actress||iZombie||Pending|