Nick Ward broke into screenwriting with pool comedy Stickmen. An instant Kiwi hit, the film won him a New Zealand Film Award for Best Screenplay in 2001. He went on to originate and co-write hit romance Second-Hand Wedding, then reconvened with Wedding director Paul Murphy for follow-up Love Birds. In 2019 he created television black comedy Fresh Eggs with Kim Harrop. Ward has also penned episodes of series Outrageous Fortune and Burying Brian, and horror flick The Ferryman.
After studying design at Victoria University, Nick Ward helped write reality television for Julie Christie, spent time as assistant editor at fashion magazine FQMen, then in 2004 launched production company Two Heads, alongside director James Anderson. Ward went on to produce comedians-abroad series Funny Roots, comedy club series A Night at the Classic, and two seasons of primetime hit The Food Truck — which spawned overseas sales, cookbooks, and a restaurant business. At the start of 2017 Ward left Two Heads, to become Head of Development at company Great Southern Film and Television.
Kim Harrop describes writing scripts as "the most exhilarating/ challenging/ enlightening/ masochistic/ addictive thing in the world." Harrop spent eight years writing for long-running soap Shortland Street. She has developed several programmes (First Crossings, The NZ Home), as well as writing and producing internet hit The Coffin Club and co-creating black comedy series Fresh Eggs with Nick Ward.
Seasoned stand-up comedian Rhys Darby played an inept band manager on cult hit Flight of the Conchords. It proved a springboard to wider fame. After feature acting roles on both sides of the Atlantic, Darby took the lead role in Kiwi romantic comedy Love Birds. 2014 saw the debut of comedy show Short Poppies, with Darby playing a different person in each episode. He continues to act and perform live.
Writer, producer and actor Paul Yates is a comedic "everyman". His CV includes sketch shows Facelift and Telly Laughs, pre-teen series Freaky and The Killian Curse, and teen sitcom Girl vs Boy. He’s written for popular sitcoms Willy Nilly and Sunny Skies, and is producer and co-writer for Wellington Paranormal, the successful What We Do in the Shadows spin-off.
Kathryn Burnett is a screenwriter, playwright and script consultant. Her scriptwriting credits include Fresh Eggs and The Cul de Sac, and award-winners The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, The Strip, Holly's Heroes and short film Shelved. Past recipient of a British Council television scholarship, Burnett co-created 2009 drama series The Cult. She also teaches screenwriting workshops.
Kiwi-Samoan Robbie Magasiva was performing in a primary school talent quest when he fell in love with acting. At age 16 he made his first screen appearance, playing a police cadet in a TV commercial. Since then Magasiva has honed his skills in television (Aussie series Wentworth, Shortland Street, The Semisis), film (Stickmen and Sione's Wedding) and stage (comedy group The Naked Samoans).
After training at Auckland's South Seas Film and Television School in 1999, James Anderson began working on music shows Squeeze and Space, and became a cameraman and editor on both. After arts series The Living Room and time working on music documentaries in the UK, he returned to Aotearoa and set up company Two Heads, with Nick Ward. Anderson went on to direct globe-spanning music show Making Tracks, and a number of high profile commercials. He was also AFTA-nominated for primetime hit Food Truck. These days Anderson is a freelance director in the United States.
Vincent Ward has won an international reputation as an original and visionary filmmaker. Vigil and The Navigator played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival (the first New Zealand features to do so). Docudrama Rain of the Children (2008) revisited people from his 1980 documentary In Spring One Plants Alone. Ward also directed Robin Williams afterlife drama What Dreams May Come.
Wi Kuki Kaa was a diverse, formidable presence on New Zealand stage and screen for almost 30 years. His iconic roles included Iwi in Barry Barclay-directed feature Ngati, Rewi Maniapoto in TV series The Governor, Wiremu in Geoff Murphy-directed Utu, the koroua in Trinity Roots' music video Little Things, a scarecrow maker in Worzel Gummidge Down Under, and many more.