Larger than life and the ultimate showband performer, Prince Tui Teka's resume included years on the international circuit with the Maori Troubadours and the Maori Volcanics. A successful solo career and love songs like ‘E Ipo’, alongside roles in films like Savage Islands and Came a Hot Friday have ensured his name is listed in New Zealand entertainment history.
After learning the ropes making short films and music videos, ex-soldier Matthew Metcalfe has made films in Antarctica and Iraq, and produced movies and TV movies with partners in Canada (Nemesis Game), England (Dean Spanley) and France (Capital in the 21st Century). His projects range from tutus (ballet feature Giselle) to war (animated film 25 April).
Maaka Pohatu was an established theatre actor (Strange Resting Places, The Māori Troilus and Cressida) before making his movie debut as hapless flatmate to Bret McKenzie's character, in 2012's Two Little Boys. Pohatu went on to play a policeman battling the supernatural in comedy show Wellington Paranormal. Alongside three fellow Toi Whakaari graduates, he was a founding member of The Modern Māori Quartet. They were the house band on Temuera Morrison variety show Happy Hour then hosted their own show on Māori TV, My Party Song. Pohatu played Dalvanius Prime in acclaimed documentary Poi E.
Broadcaster, teacher and Māori language advocate Kōtuku Tibble spent his life championing te reo. Tibble boasted a diverse CV — he had a hand in the launch of te reo pop group, Aaria, taught around the North Island for 28 years, and presented shows for television and radio over more than a decade. The father of two passed away on 24 September 2017, at the age of 53.
His name was synonymous with entertainment in New Zealand. Dubbed Ol' Brown Eyes — Māoridom's version of Frank Sinatra — Howard Morrison's voice and charisma carried him through decades of success both here and abroad. From the Howard Morrison Quartet to time as a solo performer, Morrison's take on songs like 'How Great Thou Art' ensured his waiata an enduring place at the top of local playlists.
Toi Whakaari acting graduate Francis Kora has a passion for telling Aotearoa stories through music, theatre and the screen. Kora starred in 2013 movie The Pā Boys. He wrote new songs while traveling for the filming of Pā Boys, many of which made the final cut. Kora is a longtime vocalist and bass guitarist in popular band Kora, and co-hosts Māori Television's My Party Song as part of The Modern Māori Quartet. Kora played war hero John Pohe in 2008 documentary Turangaarere: The John Pohe Story. He also acted in telemovie Aftershock and short film Warbrick, and has presented for TV's Code and The Gravy.
Moana Maniapoto (MNZM) is a musician acclaimed for fusing traditional Māori and modern sounds (Moana and the Moahunters, Moana and the Tribe). With partner Toby Mills she has made award-winning films exploring Te Ao Māori, from cultural IP to activist Syd Jackson. Maniapoto has also appeared onscreen as a political commentator, fronted 90s kids show Yahoo, and played Doctor Aniwa Ryan on Shortland Street.
Director and photographer Kerry Brown's extended résumé of images began when he was a teenage skateboarder, snapping shots of skater culture. Having directed iconic music videos for many legendary Kiwi bands, including Crowded House (Four Seasons in One Day) and The Exponents (Why Does Love Do This To Me?), he now works as a stills photographer on movie sets across the globe.
Making jokes and cross-dressing as one half of comedy duo The Laughing Samoans has taken actor Tofiga Fepulea'i around the globe. The Kiwi-Samoan spent 13 years performing with Eteuati Ete; alongside a long run of concert DVDs, they starred in 2010 TV series The Laughing Samoans at Large. Since the duo disbanded in 2016, Fepulea'i has performed solo, and paired with TV presenter Te Hamua Nikora for Māori Television comedy series Hamu & Tofiga (2017). In 2019 Fepulea'i landed his first movie role, as a private investigator in Take Home Pay. The comedy follows two Samoan brothers on a trip to Aotearoa.
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.