Julian Arahanga shot into the public eye in 1994's Once Were Warriors, playing the son who becomes a gang-member. He followed it with a starring role in cross-cultural romance Broken English. Since then Arahanga has continued a prolific career working in front of, and increasingly behind the camera - including as producer and director on Māori Television series Songs from the Inside.
Costa Botes has had a long independent career as a director of drama (Stalin’s Sickle, Saving Grace ), a run of feature-length documentaries (Angie, Candyman, The Last Dogs of Winter) and at least one film that is very difficult to classify (Forgotten Silver). Botes also spent many years as a film critic, with a reputation for an acerbic wit.
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.
Nelson-born Gus Roxburgh, who works in Los Angeles for the media arm of Red Bull, has carved a career by combining his love of the outdoors and his passion for filmmaking. As comfortable in front of the camera as he is behind it, Roxburgh has made films in some of the world’s most dangerous places — from New Zealand’s Southern Alps to the streets of South Los Angeles.
Cinematographer Marty Williams has aimed his camera at everything from landscapes to South Auckland Shakespearians The Black Friars. Williams was a prolific shooter for arts shows The Gravy and The Living Room, and shared a Best Cinematography Qantas Award for maverick lawyer documentary Lost in Wonderland. Sometimes credited as Martyn Williams, the South Seas Film and TV School graduate also framed gang member short Day Trip, and has done acclaimed work on adverts (often collaborating with director Mark Albiston) and music videos (Phoenix Foundation, Little Bushman).
Cohen Holloway began singing and doing impersonations at high school. He went on to showcase his John Campbell impression on bro'Town and sketch show Facelift. After studying acting at Toi Whakaari, he won a Qantas Award in 2009 for TV drama Until Proven Innocent; Holloway starred as the falsely-imprisoned David Dougherty. Since then Holloway has played a gang member in Boy and a real estate agent in Māori TV hit Find Me A Māori Bride, and starred as a dodgy cowboy in Western Good for Nothing. In black comedy Fresh Eggs, he is a well-meaning husband caught up in a run of unfortunate deaths.
In 2008 Matthew Sunderland won a Qantas Best Actor award for portraying gunman David Gray in Robert Sarkies' feature Out of the Blue. His performance was variously praised as “sympathetic”, “unnerving” and “stunningly essayed”. The Toi Whakaari graduate's credits also include a cliff-hanging turn as a gang member on Shortland Street, the mysterious rider in apocalyptic tale Existence, a German colonel in horror movie The Devil's Rock, and another award-nominated turn in 2006 short film Nature’s Way. He starred as the hero in 2005 conspiracy feature Stringer. In 2012 he wrote and directed short film Tuffy.
The versatile Hori Ahipene became a New Zealand comedy fixture in the 1990s after playing a Samoan matriarch on Skitz and The Semisis, a DJ in pioneering bilingual sitcom Radio Wha Waho, and his work directing for a run of sketch shows. The Toi Whakaari graduate went on to co-star with Te Radar on offbeat sitcom and chat show B&B, then took on dual roles for kapa haka comedy The Ring Inz.
Ian Watkin's long acting career saw him playing mad doctors, priests, axe-wielding stepfathers, and American presidents. Part of the legendary Blerta troupe which toured Australasia in the 1970s, Watkin went on to appearances in everything from Beyond Reasonable Doubt and an iconic Crunchie bar commercial, to presenting Miss Universe New Zealand. He passed away in May 2016.
Murray Reece has been the director at a number of key turning points in New Zealand's television history: from the debut of our first drama series (Pukemanu), to the first telemovie (The God Boy), to the episode of Country Calendar where Fred Dagg first showed us around the farm.