Rena Owen made her name playing courageous battered wife Beth Heke, in landmark film Once Were Warriors. The film won her a run of awards, and international acclaim from Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning Herald and Vogue. Owen has gone before the cameras in Australia, Fiji, Hungary and the United States.
Jim Moriarty's screen career has ranged from 70s soap Close to Home and Rowley Habib's The Protestors, to starring in mock-doco The Waimate Conspiracy and playing Dad in The Strength of Water. Committed to theatre as a tool for change, he has often worked with troubled youth (eg 2003 documentary Make or Break). Moriarty's directing work includes TV's Mataku, and a stage musical of Once Were Warriors.
Alongside award-winning front and centre roles in everything from horror movie The Ugly to Shortland Street, lawyer-turned-actor Rebecca Hobbs has tried her hand at directing (short film Tick), writing (children's series P.E.T. Detectives) — and even the cha cha (TV’s Dancing with the Stars).
Jude Dobson became a familiar television presence in the 1990s presenting a run of lifestyle shows, and then her own five night a week series. After beginning on quiz show Sale of the Century, she went on to helm almost 1000 episodes of 5.30 with Jude and its follow-up. In 2002 she set up production company Homegrown Television to make documentaries and educational films exploring parenting and family.
New Zealand-born actor Barbara Ewing attracted early notice in 60s British horror films, and became a UK household name as buxom Agnes Fairchild on TV comedy Brass. Ewing was raised in NZ, before leaving to train at RADA in London. In 1979 she won a Feltex Award as the lead in NZ returning expat drama Rachel. Ewing has written plays and several acclaimed novels, including theatre-set bestseller The Mesmerist.
The late, great, Davina Whitehouse arrived in New Zealand from England in 1952, having already performed in more than 40 films. Active across multiple mediums — radio, stage, television and film — she also spent four years as an NZ Film Commission board-member. Whitehouse was still acting into her 80s.
Robyn Malcolm is one of New Zealand television’s best-loved actors. An accomplished stage performer before moving into screen roles, she is best known for six seasons as Outrageous Fortune matriarch Cheryl West. Malcolm has appeared in television (Shortland Street, Agent Anna, Upper Middle Bogan), movies (The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell) and documentaries (Our Lost War).
Award-winning journalist Mihingarangi Forbes has spent 20+ years working in television, reporting in both te reo and English. Feilding-raised Forbes began her career as an intern on Te Karere, before moving to One News, Campbell Live, 20/20 and Native Affairs. She resigned from Māori Television in 2015, claiming she'd lost control over her stories, and began presenting Three's new current affairs show The Hui in 2016.
Nancy Brunning joined the nursing staff on Shortland Street's first episode, directly from drama school. After extensive work in Māori theatre, she stole the screen in 1999's Once Were Warriors sequel What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, winning an NZ Film Award as gang girl Tania. Further gongs followed for Treaty of Waitangi piece Nga Tohu: Signatures. In 2008 Brunning directed WWII-era short Journey to Ihipa.
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).