Karen Olsen’s work as a meteorologist and weather reporter has seen her stationed on sub-tropical Raoul Island and presenting from the blistering cold of an Antarctic winter. After 21 years reporting the weather on TV One News, often alongside much loved weatherman Jim Hickey, Olsen left TVNZ in November 2015.
Charlotte Purdy’s CV ranges from reality TV to Antarctic disaster. After a UK television OE, she helmed docos and factual TV in New Zealand. Under her Rogue Productions banner she created reality format The Big Experiment, and made Reel Late with Kate and The 200kg Kid. A decade producing current affairs (60 Minutes, 20/20) was followed by conceiving and co-directing the docudrama Erebus: Operation Overdue.
Globetrotting Kiwi Sharon Barbour worked at radio stations from Sydney to Christchurch before she started her first television job in 1990. After a year reporting for TV3 in Wellington, she moved to England. There she found work with the BBC's Special Documentaries Unit. She went on to research the 1968 Wahine disaster for two years in her spare time, culminating in the 2008 release of documentary The Wahine Disaster. The Māori Television programme, which Barbour directed, wrote, produced and narrated, won several awards. Barbour still lives in England, where she reports and presents for the BBC.
Since debuting on TV's SportsCafe in 1996 as an Olympic snail trainer, comedian Leigh Hart has donned moustaches, speedos and a variety of serious journalistic expressions. Post SportsCafe, Hart made and presented multiple seasons of Moon TV — two of them nominated for NZ screen awards — plus Leigh Hart's Mysterious Planet. He now co-presents web show Late Night Big Breakfast, with Jason Hoyte.
John Keir began his career as a TV reporter, and from the late 70s on was producing and directing an extended slate of documentaries. His CV includes docos about air crashes (Flight 901: The Erebus Disaster), war (Our Oldest Soldier), gender (Intersexion) crime (First Time in Prison) and the Treaty (Lost in Translation). His many collaborations with director Grant Lahood include two short films that won acclaim at Cannes.
John Knowles has held many leadership roles in broadcasting, and worked around the world. Ask Knowles to name his highlight and he’s very clear — being TVNZ's Head of Sport at precisely the right time. In 1979 he was one of the only television reporters to visit Antartica, to report on the Mount Erebus disaster.
After appearing briefly in The Piano at age three, Rose McIver went on to star in big budget fantasy series Maddigan’s Quest while still a teen. Since then she has played one of the passengers in true life train disaster tale Tangiwai - A Love Story, and completed a five season run in American series iZombie, starring as a crime-solving zombie. She is set to co-star in Kiwi movie musical Daffodils.
Keith Aberdein is probably best known for playing the small-town policeman who arouses Bruno Lawrence's ire, in Kiwi screen classic Smash Palace. But his screen work covers almost every angle: from covering the Wahine disaster as a reporter, to directing, to writing scripts for some of the most ambitious television dramas of the 1970s.
Philly de Lacey heads company Screentime New Zealand. De Lacey began in television in 1999. By 2003 she was producing the company’s newly-launched show Police Ten 7; three years later she became managing director at Screentime NZ. The company’s staple of shows ranges across drama (Underbelly: Land of the Long Green Cloud, Siege), and various long-running actuality series (Beyond the Darklands, Marae DIY).
Documentary director Bryn Evans has honed his skills on an eclectic range of subjects, from Kiwi tragedies (Descent from Disaster) to the Taliban cricket team (The Great Game) to elderly hip hop dancers. The Great Game (2002) marked one of his earliest directing credits. After working on multiple seasons of genealogy series Tātai Hono, Evans won international acclaim for Hip Hop-eration, a feature-length documentary about elderly hip hop dancers heading to the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas. In late 2018 he followed it with Born Racer, about Kiwi IndyCar racing driver Scott Dixon.