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.
Producer/director Michael Firth first made his mark directing ski movie Off the Edge. A key early film in the NZ 'new wave', the documentary earned an Academy Award nomination in 1977. Firth went on to direct dramatic features Sylvia, Heart of the Stag and Vulcan Lane. But he loved the outdoors best: he went off the edge again in 1987 with zany adventure movie The Leading Edge, and was behind internationally successful TV series Adrenalize and fishing show Take the Bait.
Costume designer Barbara Darragh is the creator of Xena’s iconic outfit, Billy T James’ look as the Tainuia Kid in Came a Hot Friday, and has won awards for her work on the feature films The End of the Golden Weather and River Queen. Darragh’s television credits include Under the Mountain, Greenstone, Hercules and Xena, and, most recently, Spartacus.
Funnyman actor Peter Rowley is best known for his appearances in a number of TV comedy shows including A Week of It, McPhail and Gadsby, The Billy T James Show, the self-titled Pete and Pio, with Pio Terei, and Letter to Blanchy. Rowley does, however, have a dramatic side which he has ably demonstrated in the feature films Savage Islands, Russian Snark and Netherwood.
Actor Blair Strang shot to fame in New Zealand playing the likeable ambulance driver Rangi in Shortland Street. After six years, he quit the show and returned to law school. Since then, his acting career has been resurrected playing a range of characters in shows such as Go Girls, Spin Doctors, Doves of War, Orange Roughies and Nothing Trivial.
TV executive Andrew Shaw has more than three decades of experience in the New Zealand TV industry, from being a teen heart-throb presenter, to directing and producing, to sitting on top of the heap as an executive at TVNZ.
Robert Boyd-Bell has made a huge contribution to the development of TV news reporting in New Zealand. He began his career as a reporter with the fledgling NZBC News service in the mid 1960s, and later headed the northern newsroom of TV One in the 1970s. Boyd-Bell has also worked as a documentary producer, and was instrumental in setting up educational television services eTV and The Knowledge Breakfast. He is a keen advocate for public service broadcasting.
Award-winning singer and actor Annie Whittle has tried most things in the entertainment business and has been successful at all of them. She has appeared in a range of home-grown TV shows including A Week of It, The Makutu on Mrs Jones, The Billy T James Show, Heartland, Shortland Street, and Outrageous Fortune. She has also graced the silver screen in the feature films Trial Run and The World’s Fastest Indian.