Shirlie Fairbrother arrived in New Zealand in 1986 with her partner Keith Lambert. Together they set up Morningside Productions, and Lambert created the Open Door series to give community groups a voice on television. Following his death in 2007, Fairbrother continued to produce and direct Open Door. One of her episodes, 'Road to Recovery', won a Special Media Award at the 2008 MHS Mental Health Conference.

An inspirational program which, through effective collaboration, is able to convey vital knowledge and hope regarding mental illness, the road to recovery, and maintaining mental wellbeing. Award Citation for the Open Door episode Road to Recovery

Open Door - Wingspan

2012, Series Producer - Television

Open Door is series where community projects team up with Morningside Productions and TV3 to tell their stories. This episode looks at Rotorua's Wingspan, where the art of falconry is being used to train, breed and rehabilitate kārearea and other birds of prey. The $20 note icon can fly at speeds over 100kph, as spectacularly demonstrated in a public show when a falcon hunts down a finch. But habitat loss, vulnerable nests and being shot at, means there are less than 8,000 falcons left — a threatened status that the Wingspan project is working at changing.

Open Door - AIM

2011, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode is about Adults in Motion (AIM) - an organisation helping intellectually disabled young adults by giving them social interaction, education, life skills, and the possibility of future employment. The doco interviews AIM founder Sally O’Mara, and other parents; as well as volunteers and participants. Former All Black Robin Brooke features as the owner of a local supermarket offering work to an AIM participant.

Open Door - Positive Women

2011, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This frank and moving episode is about Positive Women, a support organisation for women and families living with HIV or AIDS. The HIV positive women interviewed include health care worker Jan Waddell, who became HIV positive after a needle stick injury, and Marama Pala, who was diagnosed after sleeping with Peter Mwai, the musician who was later charged with having sex with multiple partners while knowing he was HIV positive.

Open Door - Shakti

2011, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode is about Shakti - a support organisation for women from ethnic communities who are in crisis because of domestic violence. Shakti offers immigrant women in violent relationships a safe haven and a helping hand to make a fresh start. Shakti NZ founder Farida Sultana says it is so culturally difficult for some of the women to leave their marriages they can get to the point of being in fear for their lives.

Open Door - START

2011, Producer - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode is about the Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust, or START. The documentary interviews high profile Kiwis who have learned to control their stutters - Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft, TV host and public speaker Ian Grant, former All Black Royce Willis, and unionist and political adviser Matt McCarten. Speech experts and the parents of young stutterers seeking treatment at START also feature.

Open Door - Burundians

2011, Field Director - Television

Open Door is a unique form of community-based television that allows groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary programme about an issue that concerns them. This episode focuses on Burundian refugees living in New Zealand and the importance of reuniting families separated by ethnic conflict in their home country. A number of refugees share their stories and explain the way their lives have changed since coming to New Zealand and the efforts they go to bringing other family members here.     

Open Door - Shine

2011, Director, Series Producer - Television

Open Door is a unique form of community-based television that allows groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary programme about an issue that concerns them. This episode focuses on family violence and the work done by Auckland-based organisation Shine to help those affected. Using actors, it explores the personal experiences of women in abusive relationships and the services Shine provides. They include helping women leave such relationships, child advocacy and helping women improve security so they feel safer at home.

Open Door - CanTeen

2010, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode is about CanTeen, the organisation that supports young people living with cancer (both those battling the disease and their siblings). The documentary shows CanTeen members going to a Winter camp at Mt Ruapehu, on a fishing trip, and having celebrity visits from hip hop stars Smashproof, TV fisherman Geoff Thomas, and All Black Ali Williams and coach Graham Henry.

Open Door - MS

2010, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode on the neurological disease Multiple Sclerosis features interviews with people who have been diagnosed with MS and their spouses, as well as MS fund-raisers and field officers. International expert Professor George Jelinek also features. Interviewees share their experiences of living with MS, and the programme discusses treatments and therapies.  

Open Door - The Papermakers

2010, Director, Producer - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode is about The Papermill - a charitable organisation based near Whangarei, where artists with intellectual disabilities create decorative paper products. Papermill Creative Director Trees van Ruth, along with parents of the disabled artists, and the artists themselves talk about this thriving small business and tourist attraction, and stress the positive impact it has on the self-esteem of its workers.

Open Door - Eden

2009, Director, Producer - Television

Open Door is a community-based television series that allows groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This programme is about the Eating Difficulties Education Network or EDEN. EDEN is an organisation providing information, support and referral for people facing eating difficulties such as anorexia and bulimia. The documentary features interviews with EDEN Co-ordinator Dr Maree Burns, as well as New Zealanders dealing with eating difficulties.

Open Door - Problem Gambling

2009, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series that allows groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This programme is about problem gambling. It features frank and revealing interviews with gamblers, as well as support information. The doco describes gambling as a “secret disease” that affects all types of people across all socio-economic groups. It explains that there are “action gamblers”, who are attracted to the risk and thrill, and “escape gamblers”, who gamble to escape some form of emotional pain.

Open Door - Sweet Louise

2009, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based television series that allows groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This programme is about the charitable trust Sweet Louise, established in 2005 to provide practical and psychological support to New Zealand women with secondary breast cancer. Sweet Louise was set up by the family of Auckland woman Louise Perkins, who died at the age of 39 after battling breast cancer for 10 years.   

Open Door - Autism

2009, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door is a community-based TV series where groups or individuals make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode on Autism features interviews with parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The parents talk about how their children were diagnosed, how best to help them, how to be fair to their siblings, working with the school system, and dealing with public attitudes to Autism. There are currently around 40,000 New Zealanders diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Open Door - M.E.

2008, Director - Television

Open Door is a unique form of community-based television that allows groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary programme about an issue that concerns them. This 'M.E'. episode looks into the lives of people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Despite 'normal' outward appearances syndrome sufferers are affected by debilitating exhaustion and 'brain fog', and can face long-term bed-ridden isolation, job loss, and skepticism about the reality of their illness.   

Open Door - Hospice

2007, Producer, Director - Television

This episode of the Open Door series aims to dispel some of the myths about Hospice; the main one being that Hospice is just a place where people go to die. Rather, Hospice is an organisation that supports people – mostly in their own homes – to have the best possible life in the time they have left, with a philosophy of care that is holistic and caters for people of all ages and cultures.

Open Door - Pegasus Dance

2007, Producer, Director - Television

The programme in the Open Door series follows a unique partnership between the Pegasus Unit — a special needs unit at Pakuranga college — and Auckland University Dance students, as they work together to produce a dance performance in just four weeks. The Pegasus Unit students blossom, and both groups of students learn from each other as the big day approaches.

Open Door - Road to Recovery

2007, Producer - Television

This programme in the Open Door series follows a group of people who have successfully conquered their mental illness and are now contributing to society. They talk about what caused their health problems and what it is that keeps them healthy. Creativity is a common theme. On their road to recovery many discovered hidden talents with which they now enrich their lives and the lives of others.

Open Door - Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre

2007, Producer - Television

This episode in the Open Door series looks at the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre. The centre rescues, raises and rehabilitates over a thousand birds every year. It runs breeding programmes for kiwi and other native birds as well as education programs for children and the general public. "No bird is turned away" is the mantra of founders Robert and Robyn Webb. This episode features The Centre's most famous resident, Woof Woof the talking tui (RIP) — see it to believe it!

Open Door - Vibe

2005, Producer - Television

Open Door is a community-based television series that enables groups or individuals to make a documentary about an issue that concerns them. This episode is about the Mental Health Foundation youth group Vibe, which supports young people with mental illness. The doco features Vibe co-ordinators, and also young people who have a mental illness. Craig Harvey, who has bi-polar disorder, and Wallace Stevenson, who has schizophrenia, talk frankly about their conditions and the importance of support from groups like Vibe, as well as family and friends.

Open Door

2000 - 2012, Producer, Director - Television

Open Door was a unique form of community-based television that allowed groups or individuals to apply to make a documentary programme about an issue – be it family, social, sexual, political, religious, that involves or concerns them. Production company Morningside Productions, then worked with TV3 to select the 10 best proposals. The programmes were made using the expertise and equipment of the production team, but with participants taking editorial control. Funded by New Zealand On Air and broadcast on TV3, Open Door ran for 12 seasons.