Faifua Amiga won acclaim with Kingpin - his first film role - at the age of 14. Four years later, he took centre stage in the Samoan feature film Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree.
From The Governor to The Lord of the Rings, Martyn Sanderson's distinctive voice and sideburns were part of New Zealand's screen landscape for three decades. His work ranged from the experimental to the mainstream, including directing feature films (Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree) and personal documentaries.
Since studying flute then completing a Bachelor of Music in composition, Michelle Scullion has composed for television, film, radio and stage. Her score for Bad Taste, the debut feature from Peter Jackson, was a vital component in the film’s armoury. Her screen work includes Flying Fox and a Freedom Tree, sci-fi thriller Eternity, and many short films, including four directed by Grant Lahood.
Cliff Curtis alternates a busy diet of acting in the United States (where he's forged a reputation as the actor to call on, for roles of varied ethnicity) with smaller scale New Zealand projects — including co-producing Taika Waititi smash Boy. His CV of Kiwi classics includes playing Pai's father in Whale Rider, Uncle Bully on Once Were Warriors, and bipolar chess champion Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse.
Christchurch-raised Tearepa Kahi began acting and playing saxophone as a teen, then spent two years in a theatre troupe run by Jim Moriarty. He went on to study history and Māori at Auckland University, and act — including a role in landmark te reo film The Māori Merchant of Venice (2002). Since then he has directed documentaries, award-winning shorts, and movie Mt Zion, starring Stan Walker — the most successful local cinema release of 2012. Kahi followed it with two feature-length music documentaries: acclaimed, Moa-nominated hit Poi E: The Story of Our Song, and 2019's Herbs - Songs of Freedom.
Fred Renata jumped from electrical engineering into film, after joining the camera crew on Merata Mita's only dramatic feature, Mauri (1987). After helping out on landmark Māori drama series E Tipu e Rea, he later shot his first feature, Magik and Rose (1999). Since then his work as a cinematographer has ranged widely — from music videos and adverts, to hit TV shows 800 Words and Being Eve, to successful movie Mt Zion. Renata has also shot many documentaries (Poi E, Herbs - Songs of Freedom, Hotere), often with Māori themes. In 2003 he won an NZ Television Award, for his work on drama series Street Legal.
Eteuati Ete was one of the first Samoans to attend drama school Toi Whakaari. After graduating he starred in Le Matau (1984), the earliest contemporary play in the Samoan language. He had also began doing screen work, including narrating Samoan-set film Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree. In 1997 Ete was part of comedy series The Semisis and McPhail and Gadsby; in 2003 he formed comedy duo The Laughing Samoans, with Tofiga Fepulea’i. Mainly a live act, they released multiple concert DVDs, and starred in 2010 series The Laughing Samoans At Large. In 2019 he played father to the hero in movie comedy Brown Boys.
Allen Guilford was a prolific and much admired cinematographer, whose host of television programmes ranged from 1970s TV landmark The God Boy to colonial melodrama Greenstone. Guilford won NZ Film Awards for his work on movies The Footstep Man, coming of age tale The Climb, and blockbuster What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? He passed away on 10 March 2009.
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.
Robert Lord was writing full time at a point when few Kiwi playwrights made a living from their work. In 1988 he turned his play Bert and Maisy into a television series. He also had scriptwriting credits on TV's Peppermint Twist and big screen period drama Pictures. Lord's classic play Joyful and Triumphant was dramatised for television in 1993, soon after his death at age 46.