Lisa Taouma has a laufala bag spilling over with Pasifika screen credits. She has directed on Tagata Pasifika, helmed TV2’s Polyfest and made documentaries on subjects from Samoan tattoo to fa’afafine. She produces pioneering PI youth show Fresh with Mario Gaoa, and in 2014 launched Polynesian online community Coconet. Taouma also wrote short films Brown Sugar and Talk of the Town.
A founding host for both TV's Channel 4, and hip hop radio station Flava FM, Samoan-born Teuila Blakely spent three years presenting C4's live show Freestyle. Since writing and starring in 2003 play Island Girls, she has also been acting. Her comedy skills were showcased in bro’Town and Sione’s Wedding; Blakely's drama CV includes Shortland Street (as nurse and solo mother Vasa Levi), Filthy Rich, Outrageous Fortune, and its prequel Westside.
Dave Armstrong writes plays, books, award-winning comedy shows (Spin Doctors) and dramas (quake tale Hope and Wire). He also plays trumpet. Armstrong has been creating comedy alongside director Danny Mulheron since childhood, including Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby — the tale of an un PC teacher — and Samoan family comedy The Semisis. Armstrong also co-wrote award-winning play Niu Sila with bro'Town's Oscar Kightley, which chronicles the friendship between a polynesian and a palagi.
Nathan Rarere was voicing the midnight to dawn shift at Hastings radio station 93FM while he was still at high school. Television fame followed in the 1990s, as one of the trio of presenters on madcap youth show Ice TV. Since then, many of his screen appearances have been in tandem with Oscar Kightley — from a run of TV3 sports shows, to bro'Town (Rarere provided voices for 12 characters), to co-hosting origins documentary Made in Taiwan. In 2015 Rarere hosted Māori Television's satirical news show Brown Eye. The following year he produced Māori TV sports show Play, and joined the breakfast crew on Radio Sport.
Cohen Holloway began singing and doing impersonations at high school. He went on to showcase his John Campbell impression on bro'Town and sketch show Facelift. After studying acting at Toi Whakaari, he won a Qantas Award in 2009 for TV drama Until Proven Innocent; Holloway starred as the falsely-imprisoned David Dougherty. Since then Holloway has played a gang member in Boy and a real estate agent in Māori TV hit Find Me A Māori Bride, and starred as a dodgy cowboy in Western Good for Nothing. In black comedy Fresh Eggs, he is a well-meaning husband caught up in a run of unfortunate deaths.
Low-tech legend Chris Knox is an accomplished musician, animator, writer, cartoonist, and filmmaker. The former punk shaman has brought an energetic eclecticism to his work no matter what medium it forms in, and showcased his gift for DIY-style animation in many of the videos that accompany his music.
Caterina De Nave, who passed away on 17 August 2014, helped break the glass ceiling for women working in local television. As a network executive at both TVNZ and TV3, she often commissioned new writing and directing talent, and was a key player in the development of Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Montana Sunday Theatre. In 2009 De Nave crossed the Tasman to join Australian broadcaster SBS.
Paula Boock — who runs production company Lippy Pictures with Donna Malane — has won awards both for her scripts and her novels for young adults. Boock’s screenwriting resume includes The Strip, innovative drama The Insiders Guide to Happiness, plus award-winning tele-movies Jean, Bloodlines and Until Proven Innocent.
Eight years after debuting on TV sketch show Funny Business, Lucy Lawless won international fame for her starring role on Xena: Warrior Princess. The series won her a devoted fan following, and invitations to guest-star on everything from The Simpsons to Bro' Town. Since the end of Xena's six season run, Lawless has mainly acted for American television, including a role as bad girl Lucretia in locally-shot series Spartacus.
Liz Mitchell has designed for the catwalk, television and Kiwis striding the red carpet at the Oscars. Her screen credits include power-dressing soap Gloss, and Front Lawn film Walkshort. She now masterminds the creation of a range of clothing designs, from high end to Farmers, through fashion label Liz Mitchell. She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005, for services to the fashion industry.