John Day rolled film on a wide range of screen projects before establishing company Matte-Box Films in 1980. He went on to mix a busy trans-Tasman commercials career with directing gigs on a number of non-fiction titles (The Power of Music, The Hunt for the Pink and White Terraces), plus ghost movie The Returning. Day passed away on 7 January 2015.
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.
Trained at Ilam School of Fine Arts, John McDonald cut his teeth directing at TVNZ in the 80s before producing sport for Sky TV. An OE producing at MTV Asia was followed by roles for Screentime. Since joining Mediaworks (TV3) in 2000, he has led an award-winning run of live coverage (Fight for Life, Rugby World Cup, the NZ Music Awards) and comedy. He is Head of In-House Production at Mediaworks.
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.
Since debuting on TV's SportsCafe in 1996 as an Olympic snail trainer, comedian Leigh Hart has donned moustaches, speedos and a variety of serious journalistic expressions. Post SportsCafe, Hart made and presented multiple seasons of Moon TV — two of them nominated for NZ screen awards — plus Leigh Hart's Mysterious Planet. He now co-presents web show Late Night Big Breakfast, with Jason Hoyte.
After making a career in marketing at record company RCA, English-born John Sumner switched back to his original love of performing in 1992. Since then he’s appeared in Shortland Street and had a memorable role in political satire Spin Doctors as Giles Peterson — "the buffoon", as Sumner calls him — the boss of a PR agency. He played the producer of a current affairs show on TV's Cover Story, and on the big screen was cameraman Herb in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. Sumner has also lent his voice talents to numerous shows and documentaries, including Going Going Gone, Treasure Island and Piha Rescue.
Lee Tamahori worked his way up the filmmaking ranks, before debuting as a feature director with 1994's Once Were Warriors. The portrait of a violent marriage became the most successful film in Kiwi history, and won international acclaim. Between Warriors and 2016's Mahana, Tamahori has worked mainly overseas, where he has directed everything from The Sopranos to 007 blockbuster Die Another Day.
Bruce Morrison's extensive career as director, producer and sometime scriptwriter has crossed the gamut: from innovative arts programming and pioneer music videos, to the long-running Heartland series — plus feature films variously involving fast cars, riotous teens and a glamour-struck Donogh Rees.
Sound recordist Dick Reade's list of awards includes gongs for his work on The Navigator, Mt Zion, After the Waterfall and When Love Comes — and an Emmy nomination for TV’s Buggin’ with Ruud. In 2007 he was named SPADA/Onfilm industry champion. After more than a decade with state television, Reade went freelance in the early 80s. These days he runs his own studio in West Auckland.