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.
Veteran producer and production designer Grahame McLean helped organise the shoots of a run of landmark Kiwi productions, from The Games Affair to Sleeping Dogs. Later he brought TV success Worzel Gummidge down under, and became the first — and will likely long remain one of the few — New Zealanders to direct two feature films back to back.
After working at the National Film Unit, the BBC and Canada's National Film Board, John Laing made his feature film debut as a director with Arthur Allan Thomas drama Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1980). Since then he has directed another six features, and many television shows and tele-movies. Laing has also produced for both Outrageous Fortune and Mercy Peak.
Pat Cox has been bringing television commercials to the screen since the 1970s. As a producer, he was instrumental in turning longrunning comic strip Footrot Flats into an animated feature. Footrot Flats: A Dog's Tale went on to become the most successful New Zealand feature of the 1980s.
Kelly Martin is chief executive of leading New Zealand production company South Pacific Pictures. Martin rose through the network ranks from photocopying to international acquisitions, before she became director of programming at TV3 — where she oversaw local drama successes like Outrageous Fortune, and comedy hits bro’Town and 7 Days. In 2012 she left TV3 to head up South Pacific Pictures.
Award-winning scribe Gavin Strawhan is one of the most experienced screenwriters working in New Zealand television. His extended resume includes writing for, and helping create TV shows Nothing Trivial, Filthy Rich, Jackson's Wharf, Mercy Peak, Burying Brian, kidult hit Being Eve, Kaitangata Twitch and futuristic thriller This is Not My Life. He also co-wrote 2010 feature film Matariki.
Chinese-Kiwi Roseanne Liang first made a splash with 2005 documentary Banana in a Nutshell, based on her own romance with a European Kiwi. Later she turned her experiences into acclaimed big screen rom-com My Wedding and Other Secrets. After making five seasons of web series Flat3/Friday Night Bites, Liang was confirmed to direct a feature-length version of her high profile action short, Do No Harm.
A clever thinker whose love of stories bridged the gap between art and commerce, producer Don 'Scrubbs' Blakeney helped set the NZ film industry on a path of rapid expansion, and financed such pioneering films as Utu and Goodbye Pork Pie.
Murray Newey produced New Zealand's first horror film - Death Warmed Up, and went on to win international investment in four Kiwi-made features: Moonrise, Never Say Die, teen tale Bonjour Timothy and award-winner The Whole of the Moon.
Margaret Mahy was a renowned author of children's books who also wrote for television. Amongst her many international awards is the Hans Christian Andersen Award (known as the Little Nobel Prize) for a "lasting contribution to children's literature". A highly visual writer, Mahy both wrote for the screen (Maddigan's Quest, Strangers), and her books inspired a number of programmes. She passed away on 23 July 2012.