For more than 20 years, Haunui Royal has been driven by the desire to be part of a vibrant Māori voice in broadcasting. The director turned executive got his break at TVNZ in 1988, before directing everything from a long line of documentaries (The Truth about Māori), to entertainment (Havoc and Newsboy's Sellout Tour). Later he spent seven years as General Manager of Programming at Māori Television.
German-raised Alexander Behse has produced a run of documentaries exploring Māori subjects, from ta moko to te reo Shakespeare, to acclaimed Tūhoe HQ story Ever the Land. Behse got an MA in production from UTS Sydney, and has many TV credits as an editor. He made his directing debut with 2012 TV documentary Nazi Hunter, and was at the helm of award-winning TV series Radar Across the Pacific.
Kim Webby first began directing while working as a TVNZ reporter. Alongside stints on Fair Go and 60 Minutes, she has directed a range of documentaries for both TVNZ and Māori Television. October 15, her film on the 2007 police raids, was nominated for an Aotearoa Television Award; in 2015 she helmed feature-length companion piece The Price of Peace, which screened at the 2015 NZ Film Festival.
A visit to the set of Geoff Murphy film The Quiet Earth motivated Karen Sidney to work in the screen industry. One of her first jobs was in the art department for 1985 miniseries Heart of the High Country. She went on to join a filmmaking course run by Ngāti director Barry Barclay, then moved into documentary, producing A Whale's Tale. She also wrote award-winning Cliff Curtis drama Kahu & Maia. In 2002 Sidney helped develop Aroha, a series of love stories in te reo. She also co-produced, and wrote episode Mataora. Sidney has spent time lecturing in film studies in Whangarei, and working at Creative Northland.
Journalist Claudette Hauiti founded production company Front of the Box in 1993. Specialising in Māori and Pasifika programming, their output included documentaries about the female experience of gangs, and Qantas Award-winner Children of the Revolution, which profiled the offspring of activist New Zealanders. Hauiti became a list MP for the National Party in May 2013, but resigned from politics the following July.
Don Selwyn, ONZM, was an actor, casting director and mentor to a host of talented Māori who went on to work in film and television. Selwyn’s long acting resume includes 1970s historical epic The Governor and police show Mortimer’s Patch. He also directed The Māori Merchant of Venice, the first feature film in te reo Māori.
Fred Renata jumped from electrical engineering into film, after joining the camera crew on Merata Mita's only dramatic feature, Mauri (1987). After helping out on landmark Māori drama series E Tipu e Rea, he later shot his first feature, Magik and Rose (1999). Since then his work as a cinematographer has ranged widely — from music videos and adverts, to hit TV shows 800 Words and Being Eve, to successful movie Mt Zion. Renata has also shot many documentaries (Poi E, Herbs - Songs of Freedom, Hotere), often with Māori themes. In 2003 he won an NZ Television Award, for his work on drama series Street Legal.