Pioneering current affairs reporter Dairne Shanahan brought social issues like abortion, transsexuality and poverty into the national conversation. Her credits include documentary Women in Power - Indira Gandhi, and current affairs shows Gallery, Close Up, Sunday and 60 Minutes in New Zealand, The Mike Willesee Show in Australia and W5 in Canada.
Ronald Hugh Morrieson fashioned dark yet exuberant novels from the provincial Taranaki towns where he spent most of his life. A classic Kiwi example of a writer who won increasing fame after death, Morrieson remains one of New Zealand's most filmed writers, despite writing only four books.
Margaret Moth was the first female camera operator to be employed by state television in New Zealand. Her natural curiosity and desire to experience history as it unfolded led her from a career in local news and documentaries to working for American cable channel CNN, documenting war zones and major international events from Kosovo to Kuwait.
A lover of gardens from childhood with a diploma in horticulture, Maggie Barry spent four years on the news frontline as co-host of National Radio’s Morning Report from 1986 to 1989. As presenter of TV hit Maggie’s Garden Show she was the face of NZ gardening for 12 years. After time in freelance journalism and radio she was elected MP for North Shore in 2011, and became a cabinet minister in 2014.
Auckland-born Denson Baker moved to Australia while still a child. Since then his award-studded career has balanced down under work, with shoots across the globe. Triple nominated for autism drama The Black Balloon, he scored awards with his fourth feature: the Indian-shot Waiting City, starring Joel Edgerton and directed by Baker's future wife Claire McCarthy. Baker also shot acclaimed Cliff Curtis drama The Dark Horse and NZ short Lambs.
Lee Tamahori worked his way up the filmmaking ranks, before debuting as a feature director with 1994's Once Were Warriors. The portrait of a violent marriage became the most successful film in Kiwi history, and won international acclaim. Between Warriors and 2016's Mahana, Tamahori has worked mainly overseas, where he has directed everything from The Sopranos to 007 blockbuster Die Another Day.
Timaru born and raised, Ann Brebner began writing plays as a child, then studied psychology at Otago University. Hopes of a career in music or medicine were abandoned after she joined London’s Old Vic Theatre School. But it was in San Francisco that she made her mark — running the city’s biggest casting agency with Brit husband John, she found actors for local directors like George Lucas, and discovered Danny Glover. Brebner also directed plays, wrote a popular acting manual, and was instrumental in a five-year campaign to find a home for the California Film Institute. She passed away on 13 January 2017, at 93.
Claire Chitham’s eight years playing Shortland Street receptionist Waverley Wilson made her one of the show’s longest-serving castmembers to date, as well as one of the most popular. She went on to a memorable role as gang girl Aurora Bay in Outrageous Fortune and won an NZ Screen Award for her work in Interrogation.
Roger Hall began writing and acting on television in the late 1960s. In 1976 his debut play Glide Time became a sellout. Later Hall turned this satire of bureaucrats into Gliding On, arguably New Zealand's most successful sitcom to date. Play Middle Aged Spread became a film in 1979. Hall went on to write marital comedy Conjugal Rights for English television. He remains the country's most successful playwright.
Vanessa Alexander attracted attention as a rookie director with her low-budget feature Magik and Rose. Since then she has compiled an impressive list of achievements as a producer (Being Eve, Cargo), director (the opening episodes of Outrageous Fortune and Agent Anna) writer (Love Child), script editor, and lecturer. These days Alexander works in Australian television.