Ian Cumming's career began in 1962 as a floor assistant with Wellington television station WNTV-1. Since then Cummings has produced and directed thousands of hours of television, including documentary, news, entertainment, sport, religious and children's programmes.

Cumming has extensive experience in live television, including hundreds of sports outside broadcasts (OB's), visits by the pope, Telethons and opening campaign addresses over five consecutive elections.

In 1966 he spent four years as an outside broadcast stage manager with BBC TV in London. Cumming returned and passed the NZBC production course in 1971. He then took on his first producing role, for Christchurch regional news magazine programme The South Tonight.

Cumming began producing sports coverage, which lead to arguably his biggest challenge: directing many of the stadium events at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch. Screened shortly after NZ television had gone to colour, the games marked the first time that a Commonwealth or Olympic Games had received extensive New Zealand television coverage.

The same year, Cumming's Rata Awards won a Feltex Award for Best Light Entertainment programme. In 1975, a move to the sports department at Avalon Studios in Wellington provided more outside broadcast experience, plus directing his first documentary: The 3.49.4 Man, about champion runner John Walker.

Cumming has also produced and directed a number of iconic New Zealand programmes including children's shows What Now?, Play School, After School and The Video Dispatch.

Cumming has also spent time as producer/director of Selwyn Toogood's It's in The Bag (Cumming would later work both on the 25th anniversary special, and the show's reincarnation soon after under presenter John Hawkesby.)  He also originated television series Paddy's Market, and Hello Goodbye, a six-part history of popular music from the 60s onwards. The latter show was written by playwright Bruce Mason.

When television's new Children's Department was set up in 1979, Cumming became a lone outpost of the department, at Avalon. By the time he transferred to Christchurch in 1981 he had produced, directed and adapted 56 episodes of radio programme Join In for television, plus directed for the series Odds and Ends and Selwyn Toogood quiz show W3.

Cumming's first job on returning to Christchurch was to create After School with presenter Olly Ohlson, which Cumming ran for five years. His work continued to run the gamut - from Sesame Street to the Brian Priestley media commentary programme Fourth Estate.

With the virtual demise of Christchurch as a production centre in 1990, Cumming set up his own company, Cumming Attractions, which produced corporate videos. He also contracted his services to regional TV stations. Later Cumming took a role as Production Manager with Christchurch regional station CTV, taking responsibility for a wide range of programmes.