Producer Philip Smith comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s always been in his nature to pursue opportunities. Currently working as head of the production company he created, Great Southern Television, Smith also had an eventful career in journalism before moving into producing. He was once expelled out of Tanzania while working as a print journalist, and sold his first production company for several million dollars while still in his early 30s. Great Southern has produced Lion Man, Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of NZ and The Cult. Smith lives in both Auckland and Queenstown, where he does a lot of brainstorming out in his woolshed.
From appearing alongside Lucy Lawless and baby ‘Stanley’ in the 90s ASB Bank ads, to headlining hit Aussie drama Packed to the Rafters, actor Erik Thomson has built a solid career and a loyal fan base on both sides of the Tasman. Along the way he has appeared in TV shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Alice and 800 Words, short films (Snap) and movies (We’re Here to Help, The Black Balloon).
Dougal Stevenson started his broadcasting career as a continuity announcer, before moving into newsreading. He quickly became one of our most respected news anchors, initially with DNTV-2 in Dunedin, and then nationally. He left newsreading with the restructure of TVNZ that saw the news moving to Auckland, and has subsequently hosted and narrated a number of TV shows, and dabbled in film and television acting.
Producer Pat Cox instigated Kiwiana classic Footrot Flats: The Dog's (Tail) Tale and has produced some of New Zealand’s most iconic commercials, including the long-running Speights 'onya mate', Mainland Cheese 'these things take time', and the 100% Pure NZ tourism campaigns.
Murray Grindlay first rose to prominence as the lead singer in the 60s blues band The Underdogs. Since then he has written the music for a number of feature films, such as Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors and Broken English; as well as countless TV commercials, including the classics Dear John and the Great Crunchie Train Robbery. Currently Grindlay is producing a web-based kids music show The One Winged-Bee Called Emily.
Producer Elizabeth Mitchell set up Firehorse Films to produce the popular TV3 animated comedy series bro'Town. Mitchell was a print journalist turned television promotions director, and her only experience in animation prior to bro'Town was a TV ad on the white spotted tussock moth.
Judy Bailey is sometimes called the 'Mother of the Nation', thanks to nearly 20 years as newsreader on TV One’s prime time news bulletin. Bailey began as a TV/radio reporter for the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, before co-hosting regional magazine show Top Half with John Hawkesby. In 1986 she began her newsreading career on the Network News; after a long run working alongside Richard Long she took over the role solo in 2004. She has gone on to host a number of other shows, including Māori Television's Anzac Day coverage and travel show Judy Bailey’s Australia.
Mark Wright is an actor who is well known for impersonating celebrities and sports stars on television. He has appeared on a number of primetime comedy shows including Issues, That Comedy Show and Newsflash. Wright has also appeared in TV dramas Shortland Street, City Life, Nothing Trivial and Harry.
James Coleman trained as an actor and appeared in hit film Stickmen, but has made his name as a broadcaster on radio and television. He was a host on TV3 morning show Sunrise, and blended his actor and broadcaster roles in TV satire The Jaquie Brown Diairies.
The late Whai Ngata (Ngāti Porou, Whānau ā Apanui), NZOM, had a long and distinguished career in television, radio and print. Beginning as a Māori reporter for The Auckland Star, Ngata moved on to Radio New Zealand in 1975, then joined TVNZ in 1983. Soon he was reading the news in Māori on Te Karere. Along with Ernie Leonard, he helped set up the Māori Programmes department at TVNZ, and was a key member of the Waka Huia team. In 1994 Ngata became head of the Māori department and was instrumental in creating long-running programmes like Marae and Mai Time.