Tony Holden's producing and directing career spans generations of classic Kiwi comedy, from A Week of It, Gliding On, The Billy T James Show, to Spin Doctors. CEO of production company Comedia Pictures since 1985, Holden has also spent four years as TVNZ's manager of commissioning and production.
Peter Janes has been capturing images of NZ — and its musicians — for longer than some of his camera assistants have been on the planet. Through Janes' diverse screen career, music forms a major thread. After directing his first music videos as a teen, he went on to helm iconic clips for many Flying Nun bands. Janes has also been director of photography on TV's Jackson’s Wharf and The Topp Twins.
Arwen O’Connor, co-founder of production house Ruckus Media, wanted to get into TV from an early age. After turning her hand to a myriad of behind the scenes roles – runner, caterer and wardrobe assistant – the lightbulb moment came when she was offered a job as production manager on Ice TV. Production has been a perfect fit, as O'Connor carves out a successful career as a factual/documentary producer.
Lani Tupu, sometimes credited as Larney Tupu or Lani John Tupu, is the first Samoan to have starred in a Kiwi television series; in 1985 he segued from theatre onto the screen, to play doctor David Miller on period TV drama Country GP. The New Zealand-raised Samoan then relocated to Australia, where his many screen roles include Lantana, sci fi success Farscape, and a TV reboot of Mission Impossible.
Rex Simpson has helped create a run of classic Kiwi children's shows. The former teacher joined state televison in 1976 as a presentation director. He established popular afternoon slot Nice One with Stu Dennison, before joining the Children's Department as a director and producer. In 1981 he created long-running Saturday show What Now? In 1988 he left TVNZ to set up a children's department at new channel TV3 — he was co-creator of TV3's InFocus, for which kids made much of the content. Simpson went on to form his own company, Kids TV in 1991, and later did time as a radio announcer and local body politician.
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.
Director of photography Wayne Vinten has spent his career trying to discover "the zen of invisibility". Vinten's attempts to remain inconspicious while carrying a camera have seen him shooting an extended CV of documentaries, among them hit film Untouchable Girls, Fiji doco An Island Calling, and his award-winning work on The Promise. Vinten's dramatic work includes early episodes of Outrageous Fortune, and junkie feature The Shirt.
Although Ginette McDonald's career is most associated with the gormless, vowel-mangling girl-from-the-suburbs: Lynn of Tawa, she is a woman of many parts. Alongside an extensive acting and presenting career, her work as producer and director spans three decades, and includes Shark in the Park, Gliding On, and kidult series The Fire-Raiser.
Producer Matt McPhail’s CV includes a number of Kiwi comedy hits. He started his career directing 1990s youth show Ice TV, before helping write and direct internationally successful superhero series Amazing Extraordinary Friends. His producing credits include The Jaquie Brown Diaries, the acclaimed Hounds, and downlowconcept feature Gary of the Pacific.
In a television career that began with the TVNZ rock unit, director and producer Mandy Toogood has been responsible for a run of hit comedy shows and live extravaganzas: from TV Awards finalist Pulp Comedy, to NZ Idol, and the Opening Ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. She's also been responsible for daily production for Trackside and TAB TV as executive producer for the NZ Racing Board.