Millen Baird's self-titled comedy show won acclaim, and a Best Comedy nomination at the 2009 Qantas Awards. Then Baird and friends semi-improvised as a group of big city wannabes, for web series Auckland Daze. Baird has gone on to create and act in web series Darryl - An Outward Bound Story, Leeway and Slow Pete (with wife Siobhan Marshall), and act on TV's Step Dave and The Almighty Johnsons.
The son of a Canterbury Presbyterian minister, Amosa moved to Auckland as a teen. He got early acting experience via drama productions at Sunday school and Kelston Boys' High, before formal training at Unitec. In 2004 Amosa won a plum role as a ghost (and narrator) on TV's Insiders Guide to Happiness. He has since acted on Harry and Go Girls. Amosa was on the creative team of web series satire Auckland Daze (he played an unfunny comedian); and Daryl - An Outward Bound Story. He was one of the suspects on web whodunnit Alibi. The Auckland theatre actor has also voiced many adverts and documentaries.
Aged 18, New Plymouth-raised Shavaughn Ruakere landed her first screen job: five years presenting on children’s show What Now?. Then she moved to London, and won a gig co-presenting What Now?'s English equivalent, SM:TV Live. Since presenting for C4 back home, Ruakere has moved increasingly into acting. From 2011 she did a three year stint on Shortland Street as nurse Roimata Ngatai. Later she was a solo Mum with a brain tumour (in Darryl: An Outward Bound Story) and a Māori woman in 1914 Auckland (in miniseries When We Go To War). In 2016 Ruakere was the Los Angeles reporter for Seven Sharp.
Rachael Blampied’s screen roles range from war heroine to unhinged surgeon. Northland-raised Blampied graduated in acting from Unitec in 2006. She found fame on Shortland Street in 2011 as Doctor Bree Hamilton, the disturbed and manipulative sister of Beth Allen's character. In 2013 Blampied starred as Nancy Wake, the Kiwi-born hero of the French Resistance, in TV's Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. She has also acted in The Almighty Johnsons, Dirty Laundry and the NZ edition of Underbelly. For Outward Bound satire Darryl, the passionate snowboarder went outdoors to play a hard-nosed human resources manager.
Former stuntwoman Sara Wiseman went directly from performing arts school to acting in crime series Street Legal. She went on to star as Dr Nicky Somerville in 60 episodes of the popular Mercy Peak. On the big screen, Wiseman has starred in 2005 psychological thriller Luella Miller, taken the title role in Jinx Sister, and won awards for her parts in movie Matariki and TV's What Really Happened - Votes for Women.
Producer Rachel Gardner studied at the London School of Economics, then worked as a journalist at the Financial Times. After returning downunder in 2002 she moved into producing, starting with award-winning documentary Colin McCahon: I Am. Her work on hit show The Lion Man would result in an invitation to become head of drama at company Great Southern Film and Television. Gardner has worked with partner Angela Littlejohn on a run of short films, plus features Apron Strings, Show of Hands and Slow West. In 2014 she joined See-Saw, the Anglo-Australian company behind Slow West and Lion.
John McBeth's commentating career began after injuries put paid to his senior rugby playing days. He became Radio New Zealand's lead rugby commentator in 1985 and took that position at TVNZ in 1992. With his trademark sense of humour never far away, he has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games and America's Cup yachting along with many other sports.
Television producer Philip Smith made his name with a stable of internationally-successful sports programmes. These days, as head of production company Great Southern Film and Television, he has been expanding from comic shows like Eating Media Lunch into other fields — including reality shows (Rescue 1), Moa-nominated telemovie The Kick and 2008 movie Apron Strings.
After a course in Communication and Media Studies at Auckland University of Technology, Craig Parkes got screen experience producing music videos for Bulletproof and Slipping Tongue. He also produced gangster fairytale short Big Bad Wolves (2005). Since then Parkes has amassed credits for company Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions — including supervising the post-production of feature Waru and TV shows This is Piki and Find Me a Māori Bride. In 2013 he produced horror movie Ghost Bride, directed by David Blyth. Parkes is developing other screen projects, though company SPV Films.
Rajneel Singh made his directing debut with 2003 fan short The Fanimatrix, which was downloaded millions of times in the age before YouTube. He followed it with Reservoir Dogs meets fairytale Big Bad Wolves. In 2010 his Blank Spaces was one of five short films chosen for a Tourism NZ 'Your Big Break' competition. Singh also has many editing credits (This is Piki, Find Me a Māori Bride — he has directed on the latter show). He has helmed music videos and adverts (represented by Mumbai's Genesis Films), and is developing movie projects with longtime producing partner Craig Parkes, under the SPV Films banner.