David Halls was the blonde-haired half of Hudson and Halls, whose banter-filled cookery show won high ratings and a 1981 public vote for entertainer of the year. Halls also hosted games show Blankety Blank. Later Halls and his partner Peter Hudson relocated to London, and made popular cooking shows for the BBC.
Rebecca Tansley was running an upmarket Dunedin restaurant when she entered a scriptwriting contest. Tansley won a spot, and Māori Television drama The Waiting Game (2008) was filmed in the restaurant. A year later she made her first short film, Eden. In 2015 she directed and produced feature film Crossing Rachmaninoff, a music documentary which featured at several international film festivals. In 2018 she turned her hand to dance with The Heart Dances - the Journey of The Piano: the Ballet. Tansley has also handled publicity for production company NHNZ, and wrote the tie-in book for NHNZ series Big Pacific.
Born in England, Mark Mitchinson spent a number of formative years in New Zealand, before returning to the United Kingdom and training as an actor. But he kept coming back, eventually settling downunder in 2002 and rekindling his love of acting. Mitchinson has won awards and acclaim for TV movies Bloodlines and Siege, and has also starred in The Monster of Mangatiti and web series High Road.
Simon Baré batted one out of the park in 1994 with his first short: dark restaurant tale Eau de la Vie won awards around the globe, and was invited to Cannes. Long based in Australia, Baré has taken a variety of roles on children’s TV and corporate work. He also continues to direct short films and occasional theatre, alongside studies for his second film-related Masters at Sydney University’s College of the Arts.
For three decades Peter Sinclair was one of New Zealand’s leading TV presenters. A radio announcer by training, he was the face of music television, fronting Let’s Go, C’mon and Happen Inn from 1964 to 1973. He reinvented himself as a quiz show host with Mastermind — and hosted telethons and beauty contests until the mid 90s. Sinclair returned to radio and wrote an online column until his death in August 2001.
Dunedin-born actor Colin Tapley found character parts gave his movie career longevity. Tapley argued that the average time for a leading man in 1930s Hollywood was seven years. He played supporting roles in pre-World War II Hollywood films, and after the war extended his career into the late 60s with performances in British movies and TV. His best remembered film is 1955 classic The Dam Busters.
His name was synonymous with entertainment in New Zealand. Dubbed Ol' Brown Eyes — Māoridom's version of Frank Sinatra — Howard Morrison's voice and charisma carried him through decades of success both here and abroad. From the Howard Morrison Quartet to time as a solo performer, Morrison's take on songs like 'How Great Thou Art' ensured his waiata an enduring place at the top of local playlists.
Trevor Spitz, who died in March 2012, was a key player in the 1989 launch of channel TV3. The musician turned promoter had begun working in television in the 70s as a talent scout and producer of entertainment shows, and won success — and controversy — with hit television export That's Country. He was influential in the careers of many performers, including comedic duo McPhail and Gadsby and singer Suzanne Prentice.
A New Zealander of Lebanese descent, Steve La Hood joined TVNZ in the early 70s. He went on to direct on everything from Close to Home and Shortland Street, to an acclaimed documentary on Bruno Lawrence. He also produced The Marching Girls (1987), one of the first dramas to highlight contemporary women characters on NZ television. La Hood now creates museum exhibitions at company Story Inc.
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 acting in movies on both sides of the Atlantic, Darby starred in Kiwi rom com Love Birds. 2014 saw the debut of Darby's comedy show Short Poppies. He went on to act in the 2017 remake of Jumanji, and cameoed in local hit Hunt for the Wilderpeople.