Toi Whakaari acting graduate Francis Kora has a passion for telling Aotearoa stories through music, theatre and the screen. Kora starred in 2013 movie The Pā Boys. He wrote new songs while traveling for the filming of Pā Boys, many of which made the final cut. Kora is a longtime vocalist and bass guitarist in popular band Kora, and co-hosts Māori Television's My Party Song as part of The Modern Māori Quartet. Kora played war hero John Pohe in 2008 documentary Turangaarere: The John Pohe Story. He also acted in telemovie Aftershock and short film Warbrick, and has presented for TV's Code and The Gravy.
After stints in the merchant navy and the British film industry, Steve Locker-Lampson began a new life in New Zealand in the 60s, heading the camera department at indie production house Pacific Films. The following decade he forged a reputation as one of the country's pioneer aerial cameramen, and worked behind the scenes on movies Solo and Smash Palace. Locker-Lampson passed away in October 2012.
Rachael Blampied’s screen roles range from war heroine to unhinged surgeon. Northland-raised Blampied graduated in acting from Unitec in 2006. She found fame on Shortland Street in 2011 as Doctor Bree Hamilton, the disturbed and manipulative sister of Beth Allen's character. In 2013 Blampied starred as Nancy Wake, the Kiwi-born hero of the French Resistance, in TV's Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. She has also acted in The Almighty Johnsons, Dirty Laundry and the NZ edition of Underbelly. For Outward Bound satire Darryl, the passionate snowboarder went outdoors to play a hard-nosed human resources manager.
One of New Zealand's best known screen actors, Sam Neill possesses a blend of everyman ordinariness, charm and good looks that have made him an international leading man. His resume of television and 70+ feature films includes leading roles in landmark New Zealand movies, from a man alone on the run in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to the repressed settler in The Piano.
Temuera Morrison was acting on screen at age 11. Two decades later he won Kiwi TV immortality as Dr Ropata in Shortland Street, and rave global reviews as abusive husband Jake Heke in Once Were Warriors. Since reprising his Warriors role in a well-regarded sequel, Morrison has starred in Crooked Earth, Tracker and Mahana, hosted a talk show and a variety show, and played Jango Fett in two Star Wars prequels.
Although best known as a writer, Maurice Shadbolt also did time as a filmmaker. In his 20s he made a number of films at the National Film Unit, as part of a career that encompassed fiction, journalism, theatre and two volumes of autobiography. His classic Gallipoli play Once on Chunuk Bair was made into a feature film in 1992.
Colleen Hodge began her television career in the mid 1970s as a researcher on documentary series Encounter and Perspective. She was a co-founder of independent research company Bluestockings, which worked on the Feltex Award-winning Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story. After time on contract with various television departments, she formed her own production company, and began producing documentaries.
Dunedin businessman and artist, Fred O’Neill, whose hobby of making quirky animated films brought him international recognition, sent his Plasticine hero to Venus thirty years before Nick Park got Wallace and Gromit to the Moon. O’Neill’s films encouraged children not to take up smoking, brought Māori legends to the screen in a novel way, and entertained young viewers in the early years of New Zealand television. Image credit: Stills Collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Courtesy of the Fred O'Neill collection.
Some jobs never make the headlines; in the screen industry, one of those unsung positions is the production manager. After seven years on film sets in Asia, Brian Walden returned home in the mid 70s to production manage the shoots of many classic TV dramas, from Hunter’s Gold to Hanlon. In 1985 he went freelance, keeping a firm hand on shoots involving horses, hospital porters, vampires and underwater aeroplanes.
Alan Erson captured the everyday lives of New Zealanders in 1990s documentary series First Hand. His directing credits also include Heartland and Nuclear Reaction. Since 2004 Erson has built a successful career in Australia as Head of Documentary and Factual Programmes for the ABC, and General Manager at Essential Media and Entertainment. In 2016 he became Managing Director at WildBear Entertainment.