Veteran broadcaster and journalist Ian Johnstone helped pioneer current affairs programming in New Zealand by hosting and reporting on the shows Compass and Close Up in the 1960s. Johnstone was the first host of the regional programme Town and Around and went on to co-host Tonight at Nine after the debut of South Pacific Television. Since then Johnstone has been involved in a variety of TV series and documentaries, and has even turned his hand to a bit of character acting in television dramas. Johnstone is perhaps best remembered as the long-time host of the Crimewatch series.
Actor Phillip Gordon began his television acting career playing bad boy Hugh Clifford on the long-running soap Close to Home. He then played small roles in many New Zealand films, before winning the lead role in the TV series Inside Straight. He played a conman in the hit film Came a Hot Friday, then returned to television in the kidult show Terry and the Gunrunners. More recently he has appeared on television in Shortland Street and Street Legal, and on film in The Returning.
Veteran actor Bruce Allpress has had a long career in theatre, film and television. His television credits include Close to Home, Hanlon, Shark in the Park, Duggan, The Cult, and the lead role in the series Jocko. His many film appearances include The Piano, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Rest for the Wicked.
From reporting to scriptwriting and acting, Keith Aberdein has been a part of some of New Zealand’s biggest television and film moments. His screen career began as a journalist on Town and Around and Compass. Aberdein has scripted major TV shows such as Pukemanu, Section 7, Moynihan, Close to Home, and the colonial epic The Governor.
Tandi Wright spent some of her childhood in the dressing room at Avalon TV Studios - waiting for her actor parents to finish work on Close to Home. But rather than encouraging her to follow suit, Wright insists they were always 'realistic about how nearly impossible it is to make a career out of acting'. She agrees - but seems to have pulled off the impossible anyway. Wright has been acting for television since the age of six, playing lead roles in some of New Zealand’s top productions including Shortland Street, Willy Nilly, Being Eve, Serial Killers, Outrageous Fortune, This Is Not My Life and Nothing Trivial. Her film credits include Not Only But Always, Black Sheep, and Out of the Blue.
When people think of Ginette McDonald, they often think of one of New Zealand’s most defiant and famed purveyers of Godzone English, Lynn of Tawa. But for McDonald, Lynn is only one part among many. Alongside an acting career which began when she was still a teenager, McDonald has also worked as a producer, director and presenter.
Ilona Rodgers has acted in television and stage plays in Australasia and the United Kingdom. Her local credits include beloved soap Gloss (as magazine boss Maxine Redfern), Close to Home, Marlin Bay and classic film Utu.
Celebrated actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand began her career as a child and made her screen debut on Paul Maunder-directed Gone Up North for a While aged nine. In her teens she played rebellious Jan in soap opera Close to Home, attended drama school, and on venturing into the professional world, started winning roles, including TV series Seekers, with Temuera Morrision. Her film roles include the colonial glamour drama Desperate Remedies.
Ginette McDonald has directed cop shows, produced kidult classics and won awards for her dramatic acting. Yet she has long been associated with a single role: Kiwi gal Lynn of Tawa.
Samoan-born, New Zealand-raised director Sima Urale is our first prominent Samoan female director. Urale has brought touching stories of Pacific people to the screen, often from an NZ outsider’s point of view. Urale credits her film success to determination and dealing with social issues close to her heart.