Jemaine Clement is the bespectacled half of folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who achieved international cult status in their own HBO series. Clement's screen career began after he appeared on 90s sketch shows Telly Laughs and Skitz. Following his big screen debut in Tongan Ninja, he starred in misfit romance Eagle vs Shark. In 2014 he co-directed and acted in hit vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.
Tongan-Kiwi comedian Josh Thomson won attention after starring in 48 Hour short films Only Son and Brown Peril. Along with acting (Hounds) and appearances on comedy show 7 Days, Thomson is also an editor and director. In 2017 he starred in movie Gary of the Pacific, as a hapless real estate agent turned Pacific Island chief. The same year, he joined Three's primetime news show The Project.
Kiwi Tongan filmmaker 'Ofa-ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki has long campaigned for women's rights in Tonga. She founded a Women's Action Group for Change, then in 2009 led the launch of an independent Tongan crisis centre for women and children. Born in Aotearoa to Tongan parents, Guttenbeil-Likiliki has studied communications, journalism and law, and worked as a radio DJ and TV host in Tonga. She was one of eight women to direct 2019 movie Vai, about a woman whose journey covers the South Pacific. "We need to tell the stories from the Pacific and we need to tell them through our eyes," she says.
With 2012 film Tongan Ark, Paul Janman celebrated bilcultural philosopher Futa Helu and the independent university he founded in Nuku'alofa. A sellout at the NZ Film Festival, the documentary's global screenings included travels around the Pacific, often accompanied by live performances. Janman himself is Welsh/English, but raised in Aotearoa. While occupied by various art projects, he also teaches screen production at Auckland University of Technology. Featuring historians, tohunga, actors and gamers, his next documentary is a journey through myth and reality on Auckland's Great South Road.
Jason Stutter’s first movie was cult kung-fu caper Tongan Ninja (2002). Since then he has alternated features – self-funded comedy Edwin: My Life as a Koont, stylish Ronald Hugh Morrieson adaptation Predicament – with shorts, including the hit Careful... series, riffing on the dangers of inattentive tool use. His next feature, haunted house tale The Dead Room, was released in New Zealand in October 2015.
Jonno Woodford-Robinson has edited everything from features (Taika Waititi's debut Eagle vs Shark) to commercials (such as Telecom's Meerkats campaign). Woodford-Robinson's other features include Alison Maclean's The Rehearsal, Mahana and pioneering Fijian film The Land Has Eyes. A frequent collaborator with director Jason Stutter, Woodford-Robinson's projects include Stutter's adaptation of novel Predicament. After several nominations, he picked up his first New Zealand Film Award in 2017 for his work as co-editor (with Mike Horton) of Lee Tamahori's rural drama Mahana.
David Fane is an award-winning actor and writer on stage and screen. He played multiple characters in animated TV hit bro’Town, dispensed wise words as Falani on Outrageous Fortune, and was a founding member of comedy group The Naked Samoans.
After starting her reporting career in radio, Sandra Kailahi switched to television and worked on Pacific magazine show Tagata Pasifika. The Tongan-German spent 11 years reporting for the long-running series, before moving to Fair Go for three years. Kailahi went on to produce Te Karere and One News, plus read the news on channel TVNZ 7. In 2017 she turned her hand to film producing, with short film The Messiah. Two years later her first feature, documentary For My Father's Kingdom, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. The Porirua local was appointed to the board of the NZ Film Commission in March 2019.
One of the first Pacific Island faces to appear on Shortland Street, Rene Naufahu played paramedic turned bar manager Sam Aleni for four years. Of Tongan, Samoan, German and Irish descent, the junior rugby rep won an NZ Screen Award for No. 2, playing loyal grandson Erasmus. One of the key players behind TV drama The Market, he returned to the director’s chair for Moa-nominated big screen thriller The Last Saint.
Janet Roddick is a member of Plan 9, a musical collective whose CV includes composing 20+ features and over 130 hours of television. Roddick first sang alongside David Donaldson and Steve Roche in celebrated band Six Volts, before the three formed Plan 9 in the early 90s. Their list of soundtrack awards includes gongs for Predicament, Perfect Strangers, and Saving Grace. Roddick has also acted on stage and screen.