At Hamilton Girls' High School Aidee Walker was part of band Handsome Geoffrey, which won the 1998 Smokefree Rockquest. Acting soon took centre stage. In her final year of acting studies at Unitec, Walker was cast in horror film The Locals. Following an extended, on-off role on Outrageous Fortune — as the feisty Draska Doslic — she was nominated for comedy How to Meet Girls from a Distance. She has also written, directed (and often acted) in a run of shorts, and helmed two episodes of Westside while seven months pregnant. Her short Friday Tigers won two awards at the 2013 NZ International Film Festival.
Impressed by untapped Polynesian talent, Levin-based filmmaker collaborated on a trio of pioneering films that put young Polynesians and Māori centre-frame: Kingi's Story, Kingpin, and award-winning telemovie Mark II. Walker passed away in late 2004.
South African-born Simon Walker is best known down under for one 14-minute TV interview: his controversial 1976 face-off with Robert Muldoon. Walker did further NZ assignments as a TV reporter, and headed communications for Labour’s 1984 sweep to power. These days Walker is better known in the UK, after holding varied PR, communications and advisory roles for John Major, British Airways, Reuters, and the Queen.
New Zealand born and raised, Scott Walker's first job was in the marketing department at TV3. The globetrotting advertising career that followed saw him founding branding agency Happy Dog (key players in the global launch of the Xbox). Long keen on film, Walker began studying filmmaking then researched and directed serial killer story The Frozen Ground in Alaska — successfully signing Nicolas Cage to star in his feature debut.
Mitchell Manuel burst onto the small screen in Mike Walker's 1981 bros-in-borstal drama Kingi's Story, playing the title role of a petty thief. Manuel followed it with acting and writing credits for acclaimed feature Kingpin (1985) and tele-movie Mark II (1986) — for which he won critical praise, and a best acting award.
Cliff Curtis alternates a busy diet of acting in the United States (where he's forged a reputation as the actor to call on, for roles of varied ethnicity) with smaller scale New Zealand projects — including co-producing Taika Waititi smash Boy. His CV of Kiwi classics includes playing Pai's father in Whale Rider, Uncle Bully on Once Were Warriors, and bipolar chess champion Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse.
Faifua Amiga won acclaim with Kingpin - his first film role - at the age of 14. Four years later, he took centre stage in the Samoan feature film Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree.
John Anderson got busy directing a run of television dramas in the 1980s, including award-winning Polynesian road movie Mark ll, and two of the final works by playwright Bruce Mason. The onetime actor reinvented himself as a documentary filmmaker in the 90s, then relocated to Kiribati, where he worked on more than 400 films covering everything from climate change to dance. Anderson died in Kiribati on 19 August 2016.
As the Head of Content Development at Māori Television and commissioning consultant for TVNZ's Māori and Pacific Programmes, Nevak Rogers is always looking to capture that elusive rangatahi audience. The former journalist and moved into directing and producing Māori and Pacific Island stories. She has presented popular reality shows like Marae DIY and produced doco Ngā Tamatoa - 40 Years On.
Stephen Lovatt's acting career has taken him from Arcadia to Takapuna Beach, with stops in Shortland Street, Ramsay Street and ancient Rome. Award-nominated for his starring role in 2002 feature This is Not a Love Story, Lovatt's screen CV includes roles in Spartacus, Being Eve and a five-year-run in Australian export Neighbours. The Toi Whakaari grad is also an acclaimed theatre actor.