The versatile Peter Tait has shown an extremely keen eye over which short films to act in. His CV includes memorable roles in a run of offbeat classics: from legendary horror short Kitchen Sink (playing a very strange discovery) to The Singing Trophy (as an obsessed hunter), to Alison Maclean drama Talkback (an aggressive talkback caller) and satire Mon Desir (a boring husband). Tait has also created a number of his own projects — comical cricket short Bradman, postman tale Postscript, and two low-budget features: Back River Road, which was nominated for an NZ Film Award, and ensemble movie Not Set in Stone.
Elizabeth Hawthorne, ONZM, has won awards for her acting on stage and screen. Her extensive screen resume is high on fantasy and horror, including The Frighteners, Jack Be Nimble, and Hercules. In 2000 she won the NZ Film Supporting Actress award for her portrait of a Westie matriarch in movie Savage Honeymoon, followed by another award for her brassy PR woman on satirical series Spin Doctors. In Outrageous Fortune she played Ngaire Munroe, no nonsense partner to veteran criminal Ted West. She went on to appear in both seasons of local drama series Filthy Rich, and American lost at sea movie Adrift.
Ian Watkin's long acting career saw him playing mad doctors, priests, axe-wielding stepfathers, and American presidents. Part of the legendary Blerta troupe which toured Australasia in the 1970s, Watkin went on to appearances in everything from Beyond Reasonable Doubt and an iconic Crunchie bar commercial, to presenting Miss Universe New Zealand. He passed away in May 2016.
Dorothy McKegg’s acting and singing talent took her from Palmerston North to London, while she was still a teen. Back home, her acting career encompassed memorable screen roles in Carry Me Back, Middle Age Spread and Matrons of Honour, and theatre work at Mercury, Downstage and Circa. McKegg passed away in February 2008.
History enthusiast Paul Gittins devised award-winning show Epitaph. As well as hosting it, he directed episodes across three seasons. The series used gravestone epitaphs to explore stories from New Zealand history. Gittins also presented historical show Shipwreck, and directed one-off documentary My Kainga My Castle. As an actor, he did extended shifts in the early days of Shortland Street, playing clinic boss Michael McKenna (father of Angela Bloomfield's character Rachel). He also plays father to the hero in two films directed by Ian Mune: The End of the Golden Weather and The Whole of the Moon.
Peter Elliott has been a fixture on New Zealand television for over three decades. Award-nominated as the scheming Rex Thorne on 80s soap Gloss, he would go on to win for tele-movie Until Proven Innocent, and spend four years on Shortland Street. Elliott has also guided viewers through New Zealand's history as host and narrator of shows Explorers, Captain's Log, and Frontier of Dreams.
Veteran actor Bruce Allpress has played true-blue Kiwis in everything from Ronald Hugh Morrieson classic The Scarecrow to 2011 feature Rest for the Wicked. Alongside a long run of supporting roles, he scored two Feltex awards as swagman star of 80s TV series Jocko.
Actor and director Michael Hurst is a Kiwi creative institution. Even leaving aside his work as a director and stage actor, Hurst's screen resume runs to 50 roles and counting: including playing everyone from painter Toulouse-Lautrec, to Hercules's sidekick Iolaus, to politician Rodney Hide.
A cameraman with over 50 years experience, Michael O’Connor joined the NZ Broadcasting Corporation as a trainee straight from high school. O'Connor went on to shoot some of New Zealand's most iconic dramas, from Under the Mountain to 1980s cop show Mortimer's Patch. His documentary work includes popular series Heartland and Epitaph, and directing Dalvanius, about singer Dalvanius Prime.
Dunedin-born Bridget Armstrong has found success in a range of British and Kiwi stage and screen roles. At 18 she joined the touring NZ Players, where she recreated characters as diverse as Anne Frank and Elizabeth I. Later in London, Armstrong showed her comedic talents and played Katherine Mansfield for the BBC. Back in New Zealand she acted on TV's Gather Your Dreams and Roger Hall film Middle Age Spread.