Christina Milligan has done time as an actor and scriptwriter, but it is producing that she loves most. Milligan began producing at TVNZ, and after classic movie The End of the Golden Weather, did eight years as a writer and script editor in Australia. Currently running company Conbrio with her partner Roger Grant, her producing resume includes documentary Let My Whakapapa Speak and executive producing hit film Mt Zion.
Actor Heather Lindsay (now Heather Randerson) cemented her part in New Zealand television history as one of the original cast of the country’s first bona-fide soap hit, Close to Home. Alongside her theatre work, she enjoyed an extensive screen career in the 80s and 90s, acting alongside some of the biggest talents of the day.
Tainui Stephens is an independent producer, director, writer and sometimes presenter. He started his broadcasting career with Television New Zealand’s Koha in 1984. Stephens has been responsible for bringing many Māori stories to screen. Notable historical stories he has helmed amongst his extensive screenography include a Māori Battalion doco, feature film River Queen and TV series The New Zealand Wars.
Brit-born Caroline Johnstone directed an eclectic slate of documentaries, reality shows and corporate projects, many for Wellington company Top Shelf. Always up for a challenge, she worked on subjects ranging from coins, to con artists, to drag performers (one-off doco The Drag Kings). Described by those close as a “total adventure-seeking thrill seeker”, Johnstone died after a fall at Whakapapa skifield, on 31 August 2013.
Libby Hakaraia has an overflowing kete of credits, covering subjects from Fat Freddy’s Drop to Apirana Ngata, Anzac Day to Anne Salmond. The ex-radio journalist had a screen apprenticeship at Kiwa Productions, where she made many docos on Māori themes. Based in Otaki, she now produces shows with partner Tainui Stephens under the Blue Bach banner, including the popular Māori Television reboot of It’s in the Bag.
Vincent Burke has been producing television programmes for roughly three decades. Since launching company Top Shelf Productions, he has worked on history series Frontier of Dreams, acclaimed NZ movie history Cinema of Unease, and long-running consumer show Target.
Rūātoki-raised Reuben Collier cut his screen teeth reporting on Waka Huia. In 2001 he founded Maui TV Productions in Rotorua. Collier's producing and directing credits include Marae, Matatini coverage, award-winning documentary Sciascia, and long-running food show Kai Time on the Road. in 2017 Collier was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the television industry and Māori.
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.
Ray Waru has been a prolific television producer and director since the 1970s, specialising in Māori, heritage and historical programming. He established the first Māori production unit and has been involved in a range of ground-breaking, award-winning shows, while operating his own media company for over 20 years. In 2006 Waru was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to broadcasting.
Wi Kuki Kaa was a diverse, formidable presence on New Zealand stage and screen for almost 30 years. His iconic roles included Iwi in Barry Barclay-directed feature Ngati, Rewi Maniapoto in TV series The Governor, Wiremu in Geoff Murphy-directed Utu, the koroua in Trinity Roots' music video Little Things, a scarecrow maker in Worzel Gummidge Down Under, and many more.