Barry Barclay — director of landmark TV series Tangata Whenua and feature film Ngati — was a longtime campaigner for the right of indigenous people to tell their own stories, to their own people. In 2004 he was made an Arts Foundation Laureate, and in 2007 a Member of the NZ Order of Merit. Barclay passed away on 19 February 2008, after publishing his acclaimed book Mana Tuturu.
2013 Arts Foundation Laureate Dean Parker has written extensively for stage, television, radio and print. Alongside his own projects, he has shown himself as a skilled adaptor of everyone from Nicky Hager (The Hollow Men) to Ronald Hugh Morrieson (movie classic Came a Hot Friday).
One of New Zealand's best known screen actors, Sam Neill possesses a blend of everyman ordinariness, charm and good looks that have made him an international leading man. His resume of television and 70+ feature films includes leading roles in landmark New Zealand movies, from a man alone on the run in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to the repressed settler in The Piano.
Lisa Harrow's CV marks her out as one of New Zealand's most prodigious acting exports. After starring in Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company at age 25, she got serious about screen acting in the 1980s and worked everywhere from Iceland to Australia, as well as starring in Kiwi films Other Halves and Shaker Run. Alongside her acting, Harrow now campaigns for ecological responsibility on stage and page.
Legendary filmmaker Rudall Hayward, MBE, directed seven features over five decades — decades in which the concept of Kiwi movie-making was still an oxymoron, or meant a foreigner was in charge. Inspired by NZ’s cross-cultural history, Hayward remade his own Rewi’s Last Stand in 1940. Later he married Rewi star Ramai Te Miha, launching a filmmaking partnership that lasted until Rudall’s death in May 1974.
Tusi Tamasese spent 18 years in his native Samoa, before moving to New Zealand and completing a double major in film and political science. After shooting 2009 short film Va Tapuia in Samoa with private funding, he directed his debut feature The Orator / O Le Tulafale, which was made entirely in the Samoan language. This tale of an outsider in conflict with his community scored multiple honours at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. Tamasese followed it with New Zealand-set father and daughter drama One Thousand Ropes; the tale of family and redemption was invited to premiere at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.
The broadcasting career of so-called 'Mr Country Calendar' Frank Torley spanned almost half a century. He worked on the iconic rural series as reporter, producer and narrator, and a number of other programmes besides. In 2002, he was awarded the ONZM for services to broadcasting. Torley died of cancer on 27 March 2016, just weeks after Country Calendar celebrated its 50th year on air.
Since graduating from Toi Whakaari in 1989, Carol Smith has acted on stage, radio and screen, winning a Chapman Tripp award for play The Country along the way. Her CV includes short films, sketch show Away Laughing, and playing Margaret Pope on David Lange docudrama Fallout. In 1995 Fiona Samuel picked Smith for an extended solo turn as a conflicted hippie, in Samuel's directorial debut Face Value - A Real Dog.
From a career in print journalism and public relations that began in his teens, Gordon Dryden became a familiar face on New Zealand television in the mid 70s. Earning himself a reputation as a tough interviewer, Dryden hosted coverage of the 1975 election before presenting Friday Conference. A 1991 TV series on education would lead to book The Learning Revolution, which sold in the millions.
After time as a reporter and radio producer, Judy Callingham became one of the first women in New Zealand to make her mark as a television scriptwriter (Close to Home, Gloss, Shortland St, and many more). Her broadcasting career has encompassed stints as a presenter (Town and Around, Fair Go), journalism tutor, and NZ On Air board member. These days she runs a media training company with husband Brian Edwards.