With Hunter's Gold, Gather Your Dreams and Children of Fire Mountain, Roger Simpson blazed a successful trail for Kiwi drama shows aimed at a younger audience. Though he has written further New Zealand projects, Simpson relocated to Australia in the early 70s. Since then he has written and produced on a long run of television dramas, most often alongside producing partner Roger Le Mesurier.
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.
Enid Eiriksson began working in the design department in the early days of second channel South Pacific Television. She went on to design costumes for classic fashion showcase Gloss and award-winning drama Children of Fire Mountain, plus a slew of popular entertainers — including Billy T James, The Yandall Sisters and Prince Tui Teka.
From an early role as a teen bully in Children of Fire Mountain, Mark Hadlow, ONZM, has gone on to work beside Billy T James, Peter Jackson, talking hedgehogs and mutant huhu grubs. The veteran actor/comedian is fondly remembered for playing a wide-eyed farmer on hit TV series Willy Nilly; in Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, he was grey-bearded Dori the dwarf.
An outstanding project designer, Logan Brewer first made his mark on television with ambitious period drama Hunter’s Gold. In the early 80s he went freelance, producing cop show Mortimer’s Patch and children’s drama Terry and the Gunrunners. His major project work included opening and closing ceremonies for the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and NZ pavilions at Expos in Brisbane and Seville. Brewer passed away in August 2015.
Geoff Jamieson was working as a mechanic in Queenstown when he was asked to help out on landmark 70s television series Hunters's Gold. So began a busy career as a camera grip on a run of classic TV dramas, as well as the ambitious shoots for movies The Quiet Earth and The Piano. Jamieson passed away on 24 May 2016.
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.
Rachel Weston was one of the child stars of kidult TV hit Children of Fire Mountain, playing grandaughter to a Brit aristocrat in a thermal spa town, circa 1900. Later the classically trained singer and Mobil Song Quest finalist hosted music show Opus and classical music contests for NZ TV. She is now a UK based singer. Weston has also read news for BBC World Service, and presented Proms concerts for BBC Four.
Peter Sharp is one of New Zealand's most prolific directors of screen drama. Though his directing work covers the gamut from police shows and soap satires to live performance, Sharp is best known for his work helming kidult dramas - including Maurice Gee period tales The Fire-Raiser and The Champion. He also directed award-winning mini-series Erebus: the Aftermath.
Northern Ireland-born Terence Cooper was a larger than life actor who got his big break playing one of multiple James Bonds in 1967 farce Casino Royale. Moving to New Zealand in 1976, he played patriachs in kidult hits Gather Your Dreams and Children of Fire Mountain. But his biggest role was as laconic detective sergeant Doug Mortimer over three seasons of rural police drama Mortimer's Patch. Off-screen, he opened Trouper Cooper's Curry House in Auckland and was an accomplished watercolour painter. Cooper continued to act into the early 1990s. He died in Queensland on 16 September 1997, aged 67.