Peter Meteherangi Tikao Burger (Ngāi Tahu, Rangitane) can thank a childhood lisp for his busy career as a screen director today. Having been sent to speech lessons, he found himself in the wrong class, and discovered the joys of performance in a drama class at a young and impressionable age. Since then, Burger has directed numerous film and television productions, including Until Proven Innocent, which won five Qantas awards in 2009, The Tattooist, Fish Skin Suit, short film Turangawaewae, staring the late Wi Kuki Kaa, as well as the TV series Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls and The Cult.
Tony Holden has produced and directed hundreds of hours of NZ television from A Week Of It, Radio with Pictures and Gliding On to Shortland Street, City Life and Dancing with the Stars. Holden’s roles over his 40 year screen career include Head of Production at South Pacific Pictures, General Manager of Commissioning and Production at TVNZ, and CEO of Comedia Pictures.
At one point Mike King was so famous, he appeared on three TV channels on the same night.
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.
Tom Parkinson is a veteran television producer and director who has worked on iconic Kiwi TV shows such as Hunter’s Gold, Hudson and Halls and Telethon. Parkinson was a key force behind many of our hit comedies in the 70s and 80s, including Billy T James’ shows, A Week of It, Issues, and Letter to Blanchy. Parkinson is also a former Head of Entertainment Programmes at TVNZ, and helped launch TV3.
James Griffin is the brains behind many successful Kiwi TV dramas and comedies (he co-created Outrageous Fortune and The Almighty Johnsons). He talks in this Funny As interview about failing, succeeding and more, including: Putting together a TV pilot for comedy group Funny Business, while working at TVNZ's drama department Writing comedy scripts for "old school gentleman" Billy T James How he became script editor for 1980s melodrama Gloss in his mid-20s, and drank lots of champagne Being asked to work on a film Pacific Islanders would like, which ultimately became hit movie Sione's Wedding Learning a lot from failing (City Life, Diplomatic Immunity) as "it can teach you a few things if you're smart enough to learn" How infusing comedy into his dramas (Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons) "normalised" Kiwis to seeing New Zealand humour on screen
Judy Callingham has had a long and varied television career as a reporter, presenter, and writer. She first appeared on our screens as a continuity announcer, but then moved on to reporting on the 1960s regional programme Town and Around. Callingham then developed her skills as a television drama writer on shows such as Close to Home, Gloss, Shark in the Park and Shortland Street.
Jessica Hansell (aka Coco Solid) is a creative chameleon — she's an artist, musician, writer, director and actor. The creator of animated series Aroha Bridge talks about a variety of topics in this Funny As interview, including: Realising the power of comedy to tell important stories — and be a "political weapon" How writing and acting in Māori news satire Brown Eye in 2015 "made people realise I wasn't messing around" How her Aroha Bridge characters are a "Frankenstein of Māori and multicultural archetypes I see every day" The "massive effect" Billy T James had on her, and how his Captain Cook sketches "taught you about the truths of colonisation" Rating the acting of childhood friend Madeleine Sami as the "standard that I hold other performers to"
A dry spell on the acting front saw Albert Belz turn his hand to writing for theatre and television.
Joe Musaphia had a hand in writing New Zealand's first sketch show, first sitcom, and first movie musical. The prolific playwright talks in this Funny As interview about his love of comedy and other topics, including: Writing and helping out on New Zealand's first musical Don't Let It Get You — "I had to write some of the songs as well. I didn't enjoy it. I was way out of my depth." Feeling flattered that comedian Billy T James loved his presenting on 1960s kids show Joe's World Recalling a police officer being so nervous on Joe's World that he swore live on-air Having a "ball" writing and acting in 60s sketch show In View of the Circumstances Learning how to act, to enhance his writing