Self-discipline has never been a problem for Joe Musaphia — he's written over 140 radio plays and dozens of full-length stage plays since 1960. His screen credits include pioneering Kiwi sketch show In View of the Circumstances, New Zealand's first musical Don't Let it Get You, sitcom Between the Lines and hosting childrens’ show Joe’s World. Musaphia has also worked as a columnist, cartoonist and actor.
Director Michael Firth was an unheralded figure in the Kiwi film renaissance. His debut movie, ski film Off the Edge, was the first New Zealand feature to be Oscar-nominated. Noted US critic Andrew Sarris praised drama Sylvia, based on teacher Sylvia Ashton-Warner, as one of 1985's best films. Firth's subjects ranged from incest to fishing; his TV series Adrenalize sold to 50 countries. He passed away on 9 October 2016.
Ian Wishart has been described by The Listener as “the country’s most influential journalist”. The outspoken editor of Investigate magazine has written several bestsellers examining Kiwi crime cases. Wishart gained renown as the reporter who led the investigation into The Winebox Affair, fronting a Frontline documentary on corporate fraud. He also presented 1997 found footage show Real TV.
There were times when the career of longtime National Film Unit director David Sims could have been cut short. Having survived close encounters with steam locomotives in mountainous terrain, he narrowly escaped being blown up, drowned and burnt alive at sea. Even filming a planned set-up on location had its hazards, as he found when his call of “action!” sent exploding rocks whistling by perilously close overhead.
The versatile Peter Young began writing and directing at TVNZ's Natural History Unit in 1989. After moving into camerawork, he launched his own company Fisheye Films in 1997. Since then Young has shot images around the world, directed acclaimed passion projects about post-quake Christchurch and the Ross Sea, and helmed TV series showcasing local landscapes and cuisine (Hunger for the Wild, Get Fresh with Al Brown).
Unitec graduate Tainui Tukiwaho has multiple short films and television shows under his belt, including hosting Māori Television talk show O Whakaaro. In 2011 he took on the challenge of playing legendary entertainer Billy T James, for telemovie Billy. His other acting roles include Tangiwai - A Love Story, playing Dave's boss in TV series Step Dave, and co-starring in feelgood fishing movie The Catch, as a man trying to win a Kaipara fishing contest. Fluent in te reo, Tukiwaho was awarded a place in artistic mentoring programme Art Venture in 2015.
Alison Holst (DNZM, CBE, QSM) has been a household face since the early days of New Zealand television, when her debut show, Here’s How: Alison Holst Cooks, was an instant hit. Her mission was to cook for ordinary people, use uncomplicated ingredients and stick to a budget. Rejecting her unliberated image, she aimed to get women out of the kitchen by making cooking simple.
English born and raised, Rod Vaughan began writing for Kiwi newspapers after graduating in journalism from Wellington Polytechnic. Then he began 35 years at state broadcaster BCNZ, reporting for current affairs and primetime news, and famously facing off against one-time NZ Party leader Bob Jones. Afer 11 years with TV3's 60 Minutes, Vaughan published autobiography Bloodied But Not Beaten in 2012.
Pip Hall has written for television and theatre, and won awards in both mediums. She started her screen career writing for sketch shows like Skitz and Telly Laughs, and enjoyed a long working relationship with soap Shortland Street. She went on to work on the scripts for Kiwi TV movies Why Does Love? and Runaway Millionaires, miniseries Jonah (about Jonah Lomu) and crime show One Lane Bridge.
Dunedin businessman and artist, Fred O’Neill, whose hobby of making quirky animated films brought him international recognition, sent his Plasticine hero to Venus thirty years before Nick Park got Wallace and Gromit to the Moon. O’Neill’s films encouraged children not to take up smoking, brought Māori legends to the screen in a novel way, and entertained young viewers in the early years of New Zealand television. Image credit: Stills Collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Courtesy of the Fred O'Neill collection.