Des Monaghan has worked as a producer and network executive in both New Zealand and Australia. A pioneering force in local current affairs, he went on to beome TVNZ's Controller of Programming, and sue Prime Minister Robert Muldoon for defamation. In 1996 Monaghan joined Bob Campbell to found Australasian production company Screentime, producers of the globally successful Underbelly drama franchise.
Phillip Gordon began his screen career with 70s soap Close to Home, then won fame in the mid 80s with two different roles: playing conman Cyril Kidman in hit period comedy Came a Hot Friday, and starring in Wellington-set TV series Inside Straight. He went on to act on both sides of the Tasman.
Joe Cotton first burst into the media spotlight via 1999 reality show Popstars, after auditioning to join TrueBliss. The all female group scored a number one single and album, but broke up after the TV series went off air; the show spawned many international variations. Cotton studied music at high school and Whitireia Polytechnic. Post TrueBliss, her vocal skills saw her winning first place on 2007 reality show Pop's Ultimate Star. Cotton has also hosted TV2 music show M2, competed on Treasure Island, guested on 7 Days, and done extended time on radio. She now hosts a nationwide night shift on More FM.
Ngaire Fuata has had a wide-ranging career, from presenter, producer and chart-topping singer, to fitness instructor. The Whakatane local started her screen career at TVNZ in the late 1980s, as a secretary in the Māori and Pacific Programmes department. While working there, her cover of 'To Sir with Love' hit number one. In the early 90s Fuata began presenting for Tagata Pasifika, and later produced it. She was one of the founders of SunPix, which took over production of Tagata Pasifika in 2015. Fuata returned in front of the camera for 2011 autobiographical documentary Salat se Rotuma - Passage to Rotuma.
Ray Columbus, OBE, began hosting television shows at the tender age of 19. After Columbus and the Invaders topped Australasian charts with 1964 single 'She's a Mod', Columbus spent time as a musician in America. The song was covered multiple times. He later returned to Aotearoa to resume a long career as recording artist, TV presenter and talent manager. Columbus passed away in late November 2016.
Though most of his films have been documentaries, Florian Habicht's work has often blurred the boundaries between truth and fiction. His CV includes offbeat fairytale Woodenhead, two love letters to New Zealand's far north (Kaikohe Demolition, Land of the Long White Cloud), films on theatre legend Warwick Broadhead and Brit band Pulp, and his award-winning, genre-stretching romance Love Story.
Jim Hickey spent more than two decades using his dextrous vocabulary to predict the likely path of sun, rain and wind. A longtime TV One fixture as weather forecaster on the primetime news, Hickey has also brought his distinctive presentation style to a host of other shows, including Country Calendar and A Flying Visit.
Mitchell Manuel burst onto the small screen in Mike Walker's 1981 bros-in-borstal drama Kingi's Story, playing the title role of a petty thief. Manuel followed it with acting and writing credits for acclaimed feature Kingpin (1985) and tele-movie Mark II (1986) — for which he won critical praise, and a best acting award.
Julian O'Brien, who shepherds the team of reporter/directors on Country Calendar, knows something about the job. He spent nine years in the field, before returning as the show's producer. O'Brien began as a newspaper journalist, and his broadcast career also includes stints directing current affairs, documentaries and corporate videos.
Janet Roddick is a member of Plan 9, a musical collective whose CV includes composing 20+ features and over 130 hours of television. Roddick first sang alongside David Donaldson and Steve Roche in celebrated band Six Volts, before the three formed Plan 9 in the early 90s. Their list of soundtrack awards includes gongs for Predicament, Perfect Strangers, and Saving Grace. Roddick has also acted on stage and screen.