Actor turned director Taika Waititi was Oscar-nominated for his 2005 short Two Cars, One Night. His second feature Boy (2010) became the most successful Kiwi film released on its home soil — at least until Waititi's adventure comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In 2017 Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok became a global hit. Waititi then took away an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, for Nazi comedy Jojo Rabbit.
After stints in the merchant navy and the British film industry, Steve Locker-Lampson began a new life in New Zealand in the 60s, heading the camera department at indie production house Pacific Films. The following decade he forged a reputation as one of the country's pioneer aerial cameramen, and worked behind the scenes on movies Solo and Smash Palace. Locker-Lampson passed away in October 2012.
Tony Ciprian, who passed away on 13 January 2015, spent at least 25 years shepherding sport onto local TV screens. The onetime policeman began as a reporter at Gisborne's Radio 2ZG, then moved to television fulltime; by the 80s he was producing and presenting sports for TVNZ's primetime news. In at the launch of TV3 in 1989, Ciprian mentored many young journalists, before making the first of many attempts to retire.
Veteran producer and production designer Grahame McLean helped organise the shoots of a run of landmark Kiwi productions, from The Games Affair to Sleeping Dogs. Later he brought TV success Worzel Gummidge down under, and became the first — and will likely long remain one of the few — New Zealanders to direct two feature films back to back.
When television's nightly news finally went nationwide in 1969, newsreader Dougal Stevenson was the person chosen to read the very first bulletin. Six years later, Stevenson and Bill McCarthy were given alternating command of Television One's 6.30 news slot. These days the beloved broadcaster, occasional actor and car fan presents regional show Dunedin Diary, back in the town where his TV career first began in 1964.
A meticulous, unflappable producer and director, John Lye’s career spanned three decades – most of it spent with TVNZ in Christchurch and Avalon. Lye did time as a cameraman and floor manager. Later he commanded two major productions of the 1980s — That’s Country and McPhail and Gadsby. After leaving TVNZ in 2000, he helped launch Big Brother Australia and live broadcasts of New Zealand Parliament.
Radio writer turned TV3 weather presenter Belinda Todd went on to win infamy and a cult following, as the boundary pushing co-host of late night show Nightline. Todd has also written and produced documentaries, and starred as a caring career woman in Melody Rules, a comedy series which has its share of detractors.
There were times when the career of longtime National Film Unit director David Sims could have been cut short. Having survived close encounters with steam locomotives in mountainous terrain, he narrowly escaped being blown up, drowned and burnt alive at sea. Even filming a planned set-up on location had its hazards, as he found when his call of “action!” sent exploding rocks whistling by perilously close overhead.
Former Fair Go presenter Kevin Milne ranks as one of New Zealand television's longest-serving reporters. After joining the Fair Go team in 1984, he presented or co-presented the show from 1993 until 2010. Milne has also appeared on TVNZ lifestyle shows Production Line, Then Again, Holiday and Kev Can Do.
Some jobs never make the headlines; in the screen industry, one of those unsung positions is the production manager. After seven years on film sets in Asia, Brian Walden returned home in the mid 70s to production manage the shoots of many classic TV dramas, from Hunter’s Gold to Hanlon. In 1985 he went freelance, keeping a firm hand on shoots involving horses, hospital porters, vampires and underwater aeroplanes.