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.
Campaign, the second film directed by Tony Sutorius, won sellout screenings at the 1999 NZ Film Festival. The documentary chronicled an early MMP election campaign. Sutorius went on to make another feature-length documentary, this time about trade unionist Helen Kelly. Sutorius runs Porirua company Unreal Films, whose diet of educational films encompasses numerous elections across Australasia.
David Beatson's 50 year career included high profile stints in TV current affairs: reporting, interviewing and producing for shows like Town and Around, Compass, Gallery, and Eyewitness, and chairing election debates. Beatson went on to edit The Listener, and was a press secretary to PM Jim Bolger and spokesperson for Air NZ. He served on the boards of various media organisations, and was chairman of NZ On Air.
As longtime host of primetime current affairs show Close Up, Mark Sainsbury became a household name; in 2007 the Sunday Star Times described his moustache as “the most famous in the country.” But the ginger duster doesn’t overshadow the experience and talent he’s brought to many roles over a long broadcasting career: from reporting for One News and Holmes, to officiating at Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral.
English-born journalist Gordon Bick arrived in New Zealand in 1964. Within two years he was producing current affairs show Compass. His Kiwi career came to an abrupt halt when he resigned in protest over claimed government interference in a special about decimal currency. Bick put his side of the story in book The Compass Affair, and crossed the Tasman to produce current affairs for the ABC and Channel Nine.
Veteran newsman Richard Harman began his career at Auckland University student mag Craccum. As a long-time political reporter for TVNZ, he reported on the Rainbow Warrior bombing and the passing of the baton from Muldoon to Lange — also the subject of his award-winning documentary Five Days in July. In 1999 Harman founded company Front Page, where he launched current affairs shows Agenda and The Nation.
National MP Melissa Lee first made her name presenting award-winning television series Asia Downunder. Lee started on the show in 1994 and worked on 600 episodes, a number of them as producer. She became New Zealand's first Korean MP in 2008, and was later named Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Communities.
Politics has been a key topic in Jessica Mutch's career since she became a journalist in 2006. In her first screen job, the AUT Communications graduate covered politics and general news at Sky News. After joining TVNZ in 2008, Mutch reported on several Kiwi elections plus the US primary presidential election in 2012. The same year she presented political talk show Q+A, before relocating to London to become Europe correspondent for ONE News from 2013 to 2015. On her return to New Zealand, Mutch continued on Q+A and ONE News (now known as 1 News). She became TVNZ's political editor in March 2018.
Rodney Bryant was one of the stars of the heyday of regional television news. In the early 70s he became a Canterbury institution fronting The South Tonight with Bryan Allpress, and returned to host The Mainland Touch in the early 80s. He moved on to TV talkback, then children’s current affairs with The Video Dispatch, before leaving TV for a twenty year run in communications for the Dunedin City Council.
Ian Fraser made his name in the late 70s as one of New Zealand’s most respected interviewers, facing off against everyone from Robert Muldoon to the Shah of Iran. In 2002, after time spent in public relations and as head of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, he returned to Television New Zealand — this time as its chief executive.