Teuila Blakely began her TV career presenting C4’s live music show Freestyle, before landing an extended role on Shortland Street. Blakely has shown her versatility by appearing in comedy shows (bro’Town, RadiRadiRah and Funny Girls), dramatic series (This is Not My Life) and films (Sione’s Wedding and Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business). She also made a splash as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
Amanda Billing played the "neurotic, belligerent but deeply sensitive" Doctor Sarah Potts on Shortland Street for 10 years. Billing felt devastated when the beloved character died on the soap, but it gave her the impetus to pursue other work. She has gone on to act in acclaimed comedy Find Me a Māori Bride and sci-fi children’s drama The Cul de Sac.
Lisa Harrow left New Zealand in the 1960s to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England – it was this move that cemented her love of theatre and later enabled her to build an international screen career. She has visited New Zealand periodically and starred in locally-shot movies Other Halves and Shaker Run. Nowadays Harrow lives in the US and is involved in environmental campaigning. Her most recent Kiwi project was a role as the grandmother in TV2’s Step Dave.
As a high schooler, Melanie Lynskey came to international attention in her first screen role, playing Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-nominated feature film Heavenly Creatures. Since then, the New Plymouth-born, Los Angeles-based actress has gone on to work with many of Hollywood’s biggest names, playing Drew Barrymore’s step-sister in Ever After, Matt Damon’s wife in The Informant, and George Clooney’s sister in Up in the Air. She has also had a scene-stealing guest role as Rose on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom Two and a Half Men. Lynskey has returned to New Zealand to star in feature films Snakeskin and Show of Hands.
Katie Wolfe made her small screen acting debut in the early 90s. Fresh from drama school she played the daughter of Andy Anderson's character on TV series Marlin Bay. Many acting roles later, Wolfe moved into directing, including well-travelled short film This is Her and TV movie Nights in the Gardens of Spain.
Food, travel and television are synonymous with Peta Mathias. For 12 years she hosted TVNZ’s Taste New Zealand and its spin-off shows Toast New Zealand, Taste Takes Off and A Taste of Home. Mathias says her toughest TV moment came in Bolivia as part of the Intrepid Journeys series. It was a trip she describes as 'pure hell'. As well as her TV credits, Mathias has written several books about food and travel, and leads food tours to her favourite gastronomic hot spots around the world.
Actor Rena Owen found fame through her role as matriarch Beth Heke in hard-hitting feature film Once Were Warriors. She went on to spend two decades years in Los Angeles, though she returned to New Zealand to act in Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children and Fiona Samuel's TV movie Piece of My Heart.
Stacey Daniels Morrison began her TV career on What Now?, presenting a weekly cooking segment while still at high school. After missing out on a role at Ice TV to Petra Bagust, she joined current affairs series Marae, which helped her discover her Māori heritage. She then moved to fledgling music show Mai Time, where she found herself at the forefront of a change in the way Māori culture was portrayed on screen. Morrison has moved between presenting and working behind-the-scenes, on everything from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner to SportsCafe. She is also a radio broadcaster.
After starting her career in improv comedy, Cal Wilson has gone on to work in Australia and the United States.
South African-born Urzila Carlson got her break in Kiwi comedy in 2008, after a workmate entered her in a stand-up competition.