Reporter turned director Sonja de Friez made her mark filing stories on health and the arts, during six years at TV3. In the same period she began directing, and helmed documentaries about Margaret Mahy and painter Grahame Sydney. These days de Friez makes information-based online content, mainly for Government departments — and also reviews books for RNZ National’s Nine to Noon Programme.

At last! A documentary that reflects a range of points of view, displays good background research and sheds light on a contentious subject ... Up for Parole is a model of documentary filmmaking... Trevor Agnew, reviewing Up for Parole in The Press, May 2005

Rheumatic Fever

2015, Director - Short Film

Sorted at School

2014, Director - Short Film

Distinctly Grahame Sydney

2006, Director - Television

Painter Grahame Sydney has been pigeonholed by some as a landscape artist, but this doumentary contends that his evocative depictions of his Central Otago surroundings are much more than just exercises in realism. Fellow locals, poet Brian Turner and actor Sam Neill discuss the emotional and artistic resonance his work holds for them. Sydney's portraits and figure studies are also examined. The production of one of his lithographs is followed from inception — as a sketch on a slab of Bavarian limestone brought to NZ over 200 years ago — to fully fledged print.

Campbell Live

2005 - 2006, Reporter - Television

Campbell Live launched on 21 March 2005, in a slot following TV3’s primetime news bulletin. Over the next decade it gathered acclaim, awards (including Best News Investigation in its first year) and the odd controversy. Strongly identified with host John Campbell, the show mixed softer stories with a number of pieces of advocacy journalism, including stories on child poverty in low decile schools, and homeowners affected by the Christchurch quakes. News of Campbell Live’s end in 2015 won extensive media coverage, and an unsuccessful petition to keep the show on air. 

Bad White Art

2005, Director - Short Film

Up for Parole

2005, Director - Television

Between the Lines: Denis Glover 1912-1980

2005, Researcher - Television

Denis Glover's poems are some of the most enduring in our literary tradition. "And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle" from The Magpies is probably New Zealand poetry's best known line. Glover (1912-1980) also established the first independent literary press (The Caxton Press). This documentary, directed by Bill de Friez, takes a candid look at the poet and reveals a larger than life figure ("a great drinker, a great womaniser, a great poet") connected to all the literary personalities of his day. 

Madame Morison

2005, Director - Television

A profile of New Zealand artist Julia Morison, made in the year she became an Arts Laureate. Morison is filmed in her studio “forming order from the chaos of her materials”. She explains how her tools and materials guide her image making – which in her thirty-year career, has ranged across a variety of media. The film also features her lesser known work – her collaborations with fellow artist Heather Straka, which include a series of short films, and a project entitled Madame and the Bastard.

A Clinical Approach

2004, Director - Television

This documentary looks at Christchurch-based experimental theatre company The Clinic. Since 1999 the group has been making concept-driven works - "idea[s] stemming from a dream, a conversation, or even a costume". Often characterised by global multimedia collaborations performances might take place in abandoned buildings, nightclubs or online. This excerpt explores the genesis of the company and their free-flowing ethos. It features The Peculiar Case of Clara Parsons and a show in development at Christchurch Cathedral that includes writer Jo Randerson.

Made in New Zealand - Margaret Mahy

2004, Director - Television

Made in New Zealand is a documentary about acclaimed New Zealand children and young adults writer Margaret Mahy. The film takes a line from her award-winning story The Changeover — "...made in New Zealand, it said, Wisdom Laboratories, Paraparaumu" — and uses it to talk about the importance of New Zealand settings in Mahy's work, her international successes, and her life as a writer. Mahy is filmed at her home in Governors Bay, speaking to children in her famous rainbow wig, and out and about on Akaroa Peninsula.

Real Dads Revealed

2002, Researcher - Television

Nightline

2000 - 2006, Reporter - Television

TV3's late night news show was devised in 1990 to provide a mix of credible news and entertainment. Once the serious news of the day was dispensed with, the brief was that the show could be a bit "off" with few rules - and the freedom to push boundaries. That's exactly what presenters like Belinda Todd, Bill Ralston, Dylan Taite and David Farrier proceeded to do in the show's often infamous "third break". Meanwhile, newsreaders including Joanna Paul, Janet Wilson, Leanne Malcolm and Carolyn Robinson did their best to keep a straight face. "Yo Nightliners!"

3 News / Newshub

2000 - 2006, Reporter - Television

Independent channel TV3 launched its prime time bulletin on 27 November 1989. The flagship 6pm bulletin — originally called 3 National News — was anchored by ex state TV legend Philip Sherry, with Greg Clark handling sports. Sherry was replaced by Joanna Paul, then another ex TVNZ anchor, John Hawkesby. A 1998 revamp saw Carol Hirschfeld and John Campbell take on dual anchor roles. Their move to Campbell Live in 2005 opened the doors for a decade-long run by Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. In 2016 Mediaworks rebranded its news service — and the slot — as Newshub.