Rowley Habib — also known as Rore Hapipi — was one of the first writers to bring a genuinely Māori perspective to New Zealand stage and screen. His play Death of the Land is seen as a landmark in the development of Māori theatre. In 1983 Habib won a Feltex Award for land rights drama The Protestors, part of a trio of pioneering one-off plays for television. Habib passed away on 3 April 2016.
A passionate advocate for Māori creative control, director Merata Mita (1942 — 2010) chronicled landmark moments of protest and division in Aotearoa. Her work included Patu!, a documentary on the 1981 Springbok tour, and Mauri (1988), only the second feature to have a Māori woman as director. She features in documentaries Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen and Merata Mita - Making Waves.
Russell Campbell has been analysing film and television for more than four decades. A longtime lecturer in film at Victoria University, Campbell’s books include Observations, a volume on New Zealand documentary — a field in which he has extensive first-hand experience.
Derek Morton is one of those happily unsung industry all-rounders who has tried a little of everything: from documentaries and children's TV to underground films, doing time as a cameraman, editor, writer, producer and director (from commercials and docos, to trucking drama Roche), as well as running his own production company.
Tim Shadbolt’s amiable journey from protestor to politician has included many appearances before the cameras. Shadbolt has competed on Dancing with the Stars, climbed mountains in Borneo for Intrepid Journeys, and made cameo appearances in a number of movies (Utu, The World's Fastest Indian, the 2017 remake of Goodbye Pork Pie). He has also presented on The Project, That's Fairly Interesting and for 1981 graffiti documentary Writing on the Wall. In 2012 the longtime Invercargill mayor broke two world records, after completing a marathon 26 hour long interview on Southland’s former Cue TV.
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.
Tony Isaac played a major hand in creating some of the key TV dramas of 1970s Kiwi television. He produced New Zealand's first continuing television drama Pukemanu, co-created Close to Home, our first soap, and was one of the main forces behind The Governor, arguably the most ambitious TV drama yet made on New Zealand soil. Isaac passed away in May 1986.
Since landing a national theatre award in 2007 while at high school in Christchurch, Pana Hema-Taylor has become a New Zealand screen regular, thanks to roles in features The Most Fun You Can Have Dying (as best friend to the main character) and The Dead Lands. There have also been recurring roles on television: in shows The Brokenwood Mysteries, Dirty Laundry, and Westside — as a petty criminal who ends up moonlighting as a Springbok tour protestor — and in cable series Spartacus. In 2017 he starred in TV movie Resolve as Chris Crean, who died after providing evidence on a gang attack just outside his house.
With a CV that includes everything from judges to Amazon queens, Alison Bruce has often been cast as the strong unsmiling type. Yet two of her biggest screen roles completely break that mould: the fraudulent but well-meaning fortune teller in 2001 feature Magik and Rose, and the eccentric mother in award-winning series Being Eve.
Robert Rakete got his screen break playing one of the teen adventurers on 80s kidult series Sea Urchins. After acting in teleplay The Protestors, he later became the enthusiastic, long-haired presenter on three different versions of music show Ready to Roll. Rakete also spent 14 years hosting a high-rating breakfast shift for Auckland's Mai FM radio station; he moved to The Breeze in 2006. In 2014 he spent time in The Wiggles, as 'the brown Wiggle'.