Being a big man with a “face like the map of Ireland” made him an unlikely starter, but in the mid-70s Glyn Tucker was one of New Zealand’s best known screen personalities. The larger-than-life character was a racing guru, and also a popular radio then TV presenter: his television roles ranged across sports commentator, punting pundit, crooner and light entertainment show host.
The name Phillip Leishman is synonymous with sports broadcasting in New Zealand. Over a four decade career he presented sports news and major events from the Olympics to rugby tests, plus a globally-syndicated golf show. He also branched out into popular quiz shows and entertainment specials (notably Wheel of Fortune). Leishman died on 25 February 2013, after a battle with cancer. He was 61.
Malcolm Kemp's expertise at covering live events took him from New Zealand to the sports department of the BBC. The one time head of entertainment at TVNZ masterminded TV coverage of concerts, Top Town competitions, elections, World Expo and the Commonwealth Games.
Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Quinn has come to be known as the voice of All Black test rugby in New Zealand. He has worked on countless All Black tours, and covered every Rugby World Cup since they began. Quinn worked for the NZBC/TVNZ for four decades, as both presenter and commentator. Aside from rugby, he has covered seven Olympic Games, ten Commonwealth Games, and three Paralympics.
Veteran producer Tom Parkinson has worked with some of New Zealand television's most popular comedians, including David McPhail, Jon Gadsby, and the late Billy T James (who he discovered in an Avondale Rugby League club). He also directed adventure series Hunter's Gold — whose international success helped launch a run of Kiwi-made children's dramas — and produced many international co-productions.
Lynda Topp is half of the Topp Twins, the singing sisters who have plucked their way across the country and the globe with their unique brand of comedy and country music. 2009 Topp Twins documentary Untouchable Girls is the most successful local doco released to date in local cinemas. In 2014 the twins presented TV series Topp Country, which became the third most watched local programme of the year.
Ted Coubray was one of Aotearoa's earliest filmmakers to sustain a full-time career. In the 1920s he began filming local events for screenings in town halls around the Manawatū. He went on to shoot a number of feature films, including his own hit Carbine's Heritage. When sound hit the film industry in the late 20s, the inventive Coubray pioneered his own sound on film system, Coubray-Tone. He died on 10 December 1997. Image credit: taken from Geoff Steven documentary Adventures in Māoriland
John Bates is a documentary director whose low profile and natural modesty belies his talent. His award-winning documentaries range across many iconic New Zealand people and events, including the 1951 waterfront dispute, the 1975 Māori Land March, late photographer Robin Morrison, and the history of television itself.
In a television career that began with the TVNZ rock unit, director and producer Mandy Toogood has been responsible for a run of hit comedy shows and live extravaganzas: from TV Awards finalist Pulp Comedy, to NZ Idol, and the Opening Ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. She's also been responsible for daily production for Trackside and TAB TV as executive producer for the NZ Racing Board.
Since the 1970s John Barnett has brought a host of uniquely Kiwi stories to local and international screens, from Fred Dagg and Footrot Flats, to Whale Rider, Sione's Wedding and Outrageous Fortune. As boss of production company South Pacific Pictures for 24 years, he was a driving force behind some of our landmark television dramas and feature films.