New Plymouth-raised Melanie Lynskey made her screen debut as Pauline Parker in the Oscar-nominated Heavenly Creatures (1994). Since then she has starred in Kiwi films Snakeskin and Show of Hands, and cultivated a career in Hollywood. Her long stateside CV now includes Two and a Half Men, The Informant! and starring roles in indie movie Hello I Must Be Going and acclaimed cable TV series Togetherness.
The late, great, Davina Whitehouse arrived in New Zealand from England in 1952, having already performed in more than 40 films. Active across multiple mediums — radio, stage, television and film — she also spent four years as an NZ Film Commission board-member. Whitehouse was still acting into her 80s.
Yvonne Mackay is a prolific director of New Zealand television, whose work has often focused on the arts and projects made for young people. She made history as the director of The Silent One (1984), the first New Zealand feature film directed solely by a woman. These days Mackay runs Wellington company Production Shed TV.
With the movie Savage Honeymoon and classic TV show Outrageous Fortune, Mark Beesley established himself as the man to call when dealing with rough and tumble families from West Auckland. Elsewhere the talented director and sometime producer has shown his gift for melding comedy and drama on The Almighty Johnsons, Insiders Guide to Happiness, and Xena: Warrior Princess.
Jan Haynes has worked on numerous projects across film and TV, organising projects as diverse as Telethon, The Insider’s Guide to Happiness and The WotWots. She started her career as a legal advisor before moving into production management and producing roles.
By the time she'd graduated from drama school Toi Whakaari, Chelsie Preston Crayford had won an award for acclaimed short Fog and acted in three feature films, including starring in Home by Christmas as her own grandmother. She has gone on to play a cult member (TV series The Cult) and Katherine Mansfield's lover (telemovie Bliss). She also won awards in Australia for TV thriller The Code and a starring role as a crimelord in the 1920s edition of Underbelly. In 2017 she co-starred in big screen drama The Inland Road. She is the daughter of director Gaylene Preston and musician Jonathan Crayford.
David Paul's work as a cameraman and director of photography covers the gamut, from documentary and dramas to shorts, commercials and feature films. His CV includes award-winning work on telemovies Tangiwai - A Love Story and Until Proven Innocent, plus Edmund Hillary miniseries Hillary.
Christchurch-born Will Hall got his big break playing the average joe who has strange visions after an incident in a car wash, in acclaimed 2004 series Insiders Guide to Happiness. Hall went on to appear on prequel Insiders Guide to Love, then spent two years on Shortland Street, as skateboarding doctor Kip Denton. Hall also plays the baddie in Canterbury-shot movie Western Netherwood, which he helped to produce.
Toi Whakaari graduate Peter Hambleton has acted and directed extensively for the stage, in the process winning a number of Chapman Tripp Theatre awards (Copenhagen, The Letter Writer). On screen he has played a sizable cadre of policeman and officials, alongside Prime Ministers (Peter Fraser in TV movie Spies and Lies), priests, and a dwarf: he plays Gloin in Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit.
Temuera Morrison was acting on screen at age 11. Two decades later he won Kiwi TV immortality as Dr Ropata in Shortland Street, and rave global reviews as abusive husband Jake Heke in Once Were Warriors. Since reprising his Warriors role in a well-regarded sequel, Morrison has starred in Crooked Earth, Tracker and Mahana, hosted a talk show and a variety show, and played Jango Fett in two Star Wars prequels.