Former guitarist Dane Giraud began his screen career by starring in and helping write 2001 movie The Waiting Place. Since then there hasn’t been much waiting around. Aside from directing feature drama Luella Miller, he has been a key player in a run of television shows and documentaries (Bring Your Boots, Oz, Both Worlds). Giraud is also creator of mockumentary series Find Me a Māori Bride.
Libby Hakaraia has an overflowing kete of credits, covering subjects from Fat Freddy’s Drop to Apirana Ngata, Anzac Day to Anne Salmond. The ex-radio journalist had a screen apprenticeship at Kiwa Productions, where she made many docos on Māori themes. Based in Otaki, she now produces shows with partner Tainui Stephens under the Blue Bach banner, including the popular Māori Television reboot of It’s in the Bag.
David Gunson has dozens of screen credits in a role that requires both vision, and anonymity: as a storyboard artist, who draws pictures of key shots as a guide for the filmmaking team. Gunson’s own credits as a short filmmaker often touch on war: from ANZAC Short Film award-winner Boots, to the self-funded, Tropfest-nominated Foreign Fields. Gunson has also helmed music clips for Darcy Clay and Hayley Westenra.
Ronald Sinclair began his movie career at age 11 as Ra Hould, when he appeared in Down on the Farm (1935), a contender for New Zealand’s first feature-length drama made with sound. The following year he went to Hollywood, where MGM changed his name to Ronald Sinclair for movie Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry. After war service with the US Army he worked for more than two decades as a film editor.
Producer Julia Parnell’s CV boasts a diverse range of credits — from comedy (Wayne Anderson: Singer of Songs) to sport (Wilbur: The King in the Ring), music (The Chills - The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps) and te ao Māori (Restoring Hope). Parnell’s production company Notable Pictures is behind a run of award-winning short films (Dive, Friday Tigers), plus long-running mini-documentary series Loading Docs.
John McBeth's commentating career began after injuries put paid to his senior rugby playing days. He became Radio New Zealand's lead rugby commentator in 1985 and took that position at TVNZ in 1992. With his trademark sense of humour never far away, he has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games and America's Cup yachting along with many other sports.
A passionate advocate for Māori creative control, director Merata Mita (1942 — 2010) chronicled landmark moments of protest and division in Aotearoa. Her work included Patu!, a documentary on the 1981 Springbok tour, and Mauri (1988), only the second feature to have a Māori woman as director. She features in documentaries Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen and Merata Mita - Making Waves.
Michael Noonan is a legend in New Zealand scriptwriting, and not just because he was amongst the first to prove you could actually make a living at it. Creator of landmark New Zealand shows The Governor and Close to Home, Noonan's work has often explored ideas of power and social injustice.
Producer Lloyd Phillips won an Academy Award in 1981, for short film The Dollar Bottom. South African-born Phillips was raised in New Zealand, where his first feature, Battletruck, was shot. He went on to establish a globetrotting Hollywood career, working on The Legend of Zorro, 12 Monkeys, Inglourious Basterds and Vertical Limit (also shot in New Zealand). Phillips died of a heart attack on 25 January 2013.
Tamati Coffey first brought his distinctive smile to television as part of the madcap team on kid's staple What Now? His work on the show saw him nominated for a 2006 NZ Screen Award. The political science graduate then began weather presenting and associated duties on Breakfast. In 2009 Coffey was the proud winner on Dancing with the Stars. Three years later he presented TVNZ's primetime reboot of New Zealand's Got Talent for two seasons. After representing the Labour Party in the Rotorua electorate in 2014, Tamati won the Māori electorate of Waiariki in the 2017 elections.