Nicholas Rogers debuted in the title role of acclaimed 1985 feature Kingpin: Rogers played Karl, the teen bully fighting to stay top dog at a boys' home. The following year Rogers took on a very different role: in Mark II he was Eddie, "the conscience" (NZ Herald 's Barry Shaw) of a trio of teenagers on a road-trip. Reviewers from the Listener, the Auckland Star and the Herald all praised his performance.
... the intense scene between Nicholas Rogers and Jim Moriarty toward the end of the film has the raw emotional power I’ve not seen in a New Zealand film since Smash Palace. Douglas Jenkin, in a November 1986 Listener review of Mark II
A road movie with a heart of gold, Mark II is "the Polynesian Easy Rider". Three teens (Nicholas Rogers, Mitchell Manuel, Faifua Amiga) head south from Auckland in a two-tone Mark II Zephyr, two of them blissfully unaware they're being pursued by a van-load of vengeful thugs. Along the way, they encounter the Mongrel Mob, who turn out to be quite helpful, and experience love, prejudice and jealousy from strangers. Written by Mike Walker and Manuel, it was TVNZ's first telefeature and is the third film in a loose trilogy (following Kingi's Story and Kingpin).
Kingpin was the second of a trilogy of films from Mike Walker about troubled New Zealand youth (the others were Kingi's Story and TV movie Mark II) Filmed at, and inspired by residents of Kohitere Boys Training Centre in Levin, the bros-in-borstal tale follows a group of teens who are wards of the state. Kingpin focuses on the bond between Riki (Mitchell Manuel) and Willie (Fafua 'Junior' Amiga), who along with the other kids are terrorised by Karl (Nicholas Rogers), the Kingpin of the title. It was directed by Walker, who co-wrote the script with Manuel.