If director and producer Peter Coates was a superhero, he’d surely be ‘Renaissance Man’. His contribution to championing the arts on television is arguably heroic, and his career multi-faceted. From 1971 to 2004 Coates produced, directed or scripted hundreds of TV productions covering a smorgasbord of topics, from operas to soap operas, and from portraits of New Zealand artists to rugby coaching films.
Shirley Horrocks, ONZM, is one of New Zealand’s leading directors of documentaries about the arts. Her work has chronicled the work and lives of artist Len Lye, photographer Marti Friedlander, writer Albert Wendt and playwright Roger Hall. Her films have won awards, and screened at festivals from France and Italy to the United States.
Rachel Hunter is the girl from Glenfield who made the big time. Hunter won fame for her stellar career as an international supermodel, starting in the late 1980s. Her onscreen work has grown through the years with a range of television roles, from ice cream adverts to travel, talent and beauty shows — and a long list of acting credits ranging from thrillers to acclaimed dramas.
After starting in radio, Joanna Paul-Robie has gone on to stints as an actor, high profile TV3 newsreader, and television executive. From 2002 to 2004 she was General Manager of Programmes and Production at Māori Television.
Renaissance man Fane Flaws has done it all: since joining travelling band Blerta in the early 70s, he has been a musician, painter, and author, as well as director of award-winning music videos, short films and commercials.
Miranda Harcourt's career has seen many notable excursions into screen work — from finding early fame on beloved soap Gloss to ambitious big screen drama For Good, which she acted in and helped produce. In 2017 she made fantasy The Changeover, with her husband Stuart McKenzie. As an acting coach, Harcourt has worked with everyone from Melanie Lynskey to Nicole Kidman.
Philadelphia-born, but long calling Aotearoa her home, director Robin Greenberg has become a regular at the NZ International Film Festival thanks to films about Māori artists, the Tibetan Government in exile — and three documentaries inspired by her t’ai chi teacher, Huloo. The last of those, 2015's Return of the Free China Junk, continues the story of an old sailing junk which Huloo and friends sailed to the United States. In 2019 Greenberg followed up her portrait of Māori weaver Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, Tu Tangata, with one of Erenora's husband, carver Rangi Hetet. She has also made educational films for the United Nations.
Jonathan Brough's short films have screened at Cannes, Edinburgh and America's Slamdance Film Festival. His directing CV includes episodes of Outrageous Fortune, the acclaimed The Insiders Guide to Happiness and mockumentary The Pretender, followed by a run of acclaimed Australian TV comedies (Rosehaven, The Family Law). He also edited award-winning documentary Colin McCahon: I Am.
Producer Rhonda Kite founded company Kiwa Media Group, which developed a successful programme to aid dubbing and dialogue recording, and made long-running Māori Television arts series Kete Aronui. Kite's award-winning slate of documentaries includes films on the Ōtara community, gangs, whāngai, and squeegee bandits. Kiwa Digital went on to focus on creating interactive books for mobile devices.
Lynton Diggle spent almost 25 years working as a director and cameraman for the government's National Film Unit, before launching his own company. Along the way, he filmed in Antarctica and the waters of Lake Taupō, captured major salvage operations at sea, and worked alongside legendary director David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia). Diggle passed away on 23 November 2018.