Stelios Yiakmis got his screen break as heartthrob doctor Johnny Marinovich on Shortland Street, a role he played for five years. The part Greek, part Kiwi actor has gone on to act on both sides of the Tasman, including hit show McLeod's Daughters, acclaimed 2006 movie Jindabyne, and Kiwi crime drama The Blue Rose.
Dean O’Gorman starred in his first movie (Bonjour Timothy) at the age of only 17. Since then he has had leading roles in another four, including a 2017 remake of classic road movie Goodbye Pork Pie. En route O'Gorman has played dwarves (The Hobbit), jealous brothers (The Bad Seed), American movie legends (Trumbo) and Norse gods (The Almighty Johnsons).
Auckland-born Aaron Jeffery moved to Australia at 17, to study acting at Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art. After time on Water Rats, he won fame and two Logie Awards for McLeods' Daughters. In-between doing over 200 episodes as larrikin horseman Alex Ryan, he returned to Aotearoa for Outrageous Fortune, to play Wolf West's dodgy half-brother. In 2012 he won an AACTA Award after adding 15 kilograms for Underbelly: Badness. Later he starred as celebrity criminal Mark 'Chopper' Read in a 2018 Underbelly instalment. Jeffery has also acted in Step Dave (as Dave's dad) and Prisoner update Wentworth.
Christina Milligan has done time as an actor and scriptwriter, but it is producing that she loves most. Milligan began producing at TVNZ, and after classic movie The End of the Golden Weather, did eight years as a writer and script editor in Australia. Currently running company Conbrio with her partner Roger Grant, her producing resume includes documentary Let My Whakapapa Speak and executive producing hit film Mt Zion.
Although her CV is largely Australian, Michala Banas was born in Wellington. The daughter of Kiwi screenwriter John Banas appeared in her first commercial at one and a half; as a teen she got a breakthrough role in Australian-NZ TV series Mirror Mirror. She went on to success in Australian staples McLeod’s Daughters and Neighbours, then won new fans as burping bogan Amber Wheeler, on acclaimed sitcom Upper Middle Bogan.
Marshall Napier’s long run of memorable supporting roles includes classic movies Came a Hot Friday and The Navigator. He has starred in Bellbird, The Lie of the Land and teleplay Swimming Lessons. A move to Australia in the late 1980s saw turns in hit movie Babe and TV's Police Rescue and McLeod’s Daughters. Napier took his own play Freak Winds, to New York in 2006, after a sellout run in Australia.
Unitec acting grad Michelle Langstone won awards after starring in 2003 movie For Good, as a young woman obsessed with meeting a murderer. Since then she has played a ferocious Norse goddess (The Almighty Johnsons), a career-driven doctor (Shortland Street), a straying wife (Go Girls), and been nominated for a Logie Award in Australia thanks to two years as the tenacious Fiona Ryan on McLeod’s Daughters.
Lisa Chappell first won fame in 1980s soap Gloss, playing rich brat Chelsea Redfern. She went on to cop drama Shark in the Park and a role in big screen melodrama Desperate Remedies. After short-lived TV series City Life, Chappell decamped to Australia, where she won two Logie awards during a three year run on international hit McLeod's Daughters. Since releasing her debut album, she has won a Qantas award for a gun-toting role in Kiwi TV drama The Cult, and written a number of plays.
Christopher Hobbs first won fame in 1997 when he joined the medical staff on Shortland Street. He went on to act on Australian television (Home and Away) and co-star in based on a true story Geoff Murphy thriller Spooked, before relocating to the United States.
Auckland-born Jay Laga’aia is the proverbial man of many talents. A busy trans-Tasman career as actor/performer has seen him performing on stage (The Lion King) and screen (Street Legal, Water Rats, Star Wars).