A lover of gardens from childhood with a diploma in horticulture, Maggie Barry spent four years on the news frontline as co-host of National Radio’s Morning Report from 1986 to 1989. As presenter of TV hit Maggie’s Garden Show she was the face of NZ gardening for 12 years. After time in freelance journalism and radio she was elected MP for North Shore in 2011, and became a cabinet minister in 2014.
Always happy to share his face with a wētā, entomologist and 'Bug Man' Ruud Kleinpaste is one of the insect world’s best friends. After moving to New Zealand from Holland in 1978, his work with MAF created a media profile for him which led to a long-running radio show, and a television career that saw Buggin’ with Ruud, his show for American cable network Animal Planet, screen in over 60 countries.
Eion Scarrow was running a gardening centre in Hamilton when he realised he knew more about gardening than the TV presenter he was helping out. Soon he took over the show. Four years later Scarrow began hosting Dig This, NZ's first national gardening show. From his Avalon studio garden base, he was a green-fingered telly guide for 11 years. The prolific writer of more than 20 books passed away on Anzac Day 2013.
Named Head of the Internal Production Department at TVNZ while still in her late 20s, Dana Youngman first worked her way up the producing ladder on lifestyle shows like Maggie’s Garden Show and A Taste of Home. Since then she has worked on New Zealand’s Got Talent and Whānau Living, and helped create a cooking show with Annabel Langbein which screened in more than 80 countries.
Jess Feast is a documentary maker whose work covers everything from Berlin and ballet to the Flight of the Conchords. Cowboys & Communists examined cultural conflicts in post-cold war Berlin via a US-themed bar and residents of the tower block it’s housed in. 2013 breakout hit Gardening with Soul follows a year in the life of a vivacious nonagenarian nun and won the Best Documentary Moa (NZ Film) award.
Pete Smith made his screen debut with a GOFTA-winning role as one of the last people on earth, in classic sci-fi film The Quiet Earth (1985). Smith found acting after being welcomed onto the marae for his father's tangi. Keen to rediscover his ancestry and a "better life", he joined a drama course run by mentor Don Selwyn. His CV includes playing a detective in Plainclothes, a gang leader in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? and an award-winning role in TV series The Market. Smith went on to present and co-create Far North gardening show Maramataka - Once Were Gardeners, and to star in 2010 movie Hugh and Heke.
Irene Gardiner is known for her work as a producer, TVNZ production unit head and commissioning editor. She has particular expertise in the area of popular factual programmes and documentaries. Gardiner also has a sideline career as a commentator on media issues on radio and television. She was NZ On Screen's Content Director from 2009 to 2016.
New Plymouth born Katie Wolfe has made the transition from actor to director. After leading roles in Marlin Bay, Cover Story, and Mercy Peak she stepped behind the camera in 2002, directing on Shortland Street. In 2008 she directed her first short film This Is Her, which screened at festivals around the globe. Wolfe's adaptation of Witi Ihimaera novel Nights in the Garden of Spain screened on TV in January 2011.
Tessa Tylee has over two decades of television credits, including six seasons of community hero garden renovation show Mucking In. She begun on the coffee run on factual series Heroes and worked her way up to helm documenaries on rally driver Possum Bourne and actor Kevin Smith. These days Tylee runs her own production outfit, Alice in Television, from Hawke's Bay.
After working in advertising and film development in London and at the NZ Film Commission, Vicky Pope segued into independent producing in 2005. In 2008 she produced acclaimed high school documentary Trouble is My Business, and award-winning shortThe Graffiti of Mr Tupaia. Since then Pope has produced and executive produced numerous shorts, plus Robert Sarkies' black comedy Two Little Boys and award-winning documentary Gardening with Soul.