A pioneer of New Zealand film and star of 1940 classic Rewi's Last Stand, Ramai Hayward is credited as Aotearoa’s first Māori filmmaker, camerawoman, and scriptwriter. At the 2005 Wairoa Māori Film Festival she received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to Māori filmmaking; the following year Hayward was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit. She passed away on 3 July 2014.
The multi-talented Jackie van Beek emerged from Wellington’s 90s theatre scene. After directing a run of award-winning shorts, her first feature The Inland Road was invited to the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. She went on to co-direct, co-write and co-star in comedy The Breaker Upperers, with Madeleine Sami. As an actor, van Beek is probably best known for her role in What We Do in the Shadows, as a vampire groupie.
Peter Hudson was the dark-haired half of Hudson and Halls, whose cookery show won high ratings and a 1981 public vote for entertainer of the year. Hudson and partner David Halls' shows were marked by comic banter, and the occasional oven fire. Later they relocated to London, to make programmes for the BBC.
Award-winning scribe Gavin Strawhan is one of the most experienced screenwriters working in New Zealand television. His extended resume includes writing for, and helping create TV shows Nothing Trivial, Filthy Rich, Jackson's Wharf, Mercy Peak, Burying Brian, kidult hit Being Eve, Kaitangata Twitch and futuristic thriller This is Not My Life. He also co-wrote 2010 feature film Matariki.
Toi Whakaari graduate Neill Rea first won attention as the likeable if mildly-unhinged Scotty, one of the Dunedin students caught up in crime in hit movie Scarfies (1999). Since then Rea has embarked on a dual career as owner-operator of Auckland casting agency Fly Casting, while taking on a number of television and voice roles of his own. His work as casting director includes 2012 TV movie What Really Happened - Votes for Women, and movie Kiwi Christmas. In 2014 he starred as Detective Mike Shepherd, in the first of multiple seasons of Prime’s feature-length crime series The Brokenwood Mysteries.
Craig Hall's screen career kicked into gear when he played a proud Westie in 2000 big screen comedy Savage Honeymoon. Since then his CV has included telemovie Bloodlines and ongoing roles in The Strip, Outrageous Fortune and various Australian TV dramas. Amongst his movie roles are the cynical salesman in Anthony McCarten's Show of Hands, and starring as a commando in 2011 horror film The Devil's Rock.
Jodie Hillock's first screen role was as a child, in 1993 television series White Fang. A decade later she began studying acting at drama school Toi Whakaari. Since then Hillock has appeared in a run of screen roles, from television to short films and features (The Inland Road). In 2012 telemovie What Really Happened - Votes for Women she played legendary women's suffrage campaigner Ada Wells. In 2019 Hillock took on a major role in miniseries The Bad Seed as embittered Karen Lampton, who discovers her husband is an adulterer and a murder suspect. Hillock is also the writer of 2019 short film Arrow.
Robyn Malcolm is one of New Zealand television’s best-loved actors. An accomplished stage performer before moving into screen roles, she is best known for six seasons as Outrageous Fortune matriarch Cheryl West. Malcolm has appeared in television (Shortland Street, Agent Anna, Upper Middle Bogan), movies (The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell) and documentaries (Our Lost War).
Jimi Jackson found fame showcasing his comic chops on the internet. In 2013 he began starring in short, expletive-loaded comedy clips. Loaded onto Vine, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, they won him a devoted fanbase — and over 900,000 Facebook followers. Soon he was doing live comedy tours in Aotearoa and Australia. In 2017 Jackson starred in Māori Television show Jimi's World, and won headlines after being photographed in blackface. The following year he made his big screen debut in comedy Alien Addiction — starring as Riko, who discovers a UFO near his Waikato town and befriends some aliens.
Between 1975 and 1983, London-born variety artist Chic Littlewood entertained a generation of Kiwi kids, writing and presenting 500 plus episodes of his after school shows Now C Here, Chicaboom and Chic Chat — appearing with Alma Woods, puppet Willie McNabb, and as Gramps. In 1993 Littlewood enjoyed a primetime career revival, after starting a three year stint on Shortland Street. He passed away on 11 January 2015.