Trailblazing broadcaster Shirley Maddock, ONZM, was making and presenting television in 1960, when the medium first began in New Zealand. After doing theatre in London and radio in New York, she went on to produce and present a series of documentaries in her homeland, and wrote a bestselling book to accompany 1964 series Islands of the Gulf. Maddock passed away on 10 October 2001. She was 72.
The great outdoors and the arts are what most inspires sound recordist turned documentary director John Hagen. He learnt the ropes at Avalon television studios, before venturing out on his own as a director. Alongside arts shows like Frontseat and New Artland, Hagen has celebrated Kiwi architecture in The New Zealand Home and recreated hazardous pioneer journeys in popular series First Crossings.
English-born Graham Kerr was New Zealand’s first celebrity chef. Initially RNZAF Chief Catering Adviser, he soon found himself on television in a flamboyant persona that would come to be known as the Galloping Gourmet. He has gone on to make more than 1,800 programmes around the world – but, in later years, conversion to Christianity and family ill health have considerably toned down his performance and recipes.
Elisabeth Easther was just out of drama school Toi Whakaari in 1995 when she was cast as Shortland Street nurse Carla Crozier. She gained Kiwi television infamy as the street's first murderer. Later, for three years from 2010, Easther was a familiar face as the Mum in an ad campaign for Countdown supermarkets. She is also a journalist, radio commentator, voice artist and award-winning playwright (Seed, Famous Flora). In 2018 Easther travelled around the Hauraki Gulf, following in the footsteps of her mother — pioneering broadcaster Shirley Maddock — as host of an updated version of TV show Islands of the Gulf.