Jay Laga’aia is an in demand actor on both sides of the Tasman, having appeared in a number of popular film and TV roles in both New Zealand (Heroes, Gloss, Marlin Bay, Xena and Street Legal), and Australia (Home and Away, Water Rats, Bed of Roses). He says his most memorable achievement was having an action toy created in his likeness after appearing as Captain Typho in Star Wars.
Aaron Jeffery is a Kiwi-born actor who has spent most of his life working in Australia. He played a cop in TV series Water Rats, before winning fame and Logie awards on soap McLeod’s Daughters. Jeffery has also appeared in NZ comedy dramas Outrageous Fortune and Step Dave, as well as Australian series Underbelly and Wentworth.
Actor Greg Johnson began his career as a stand-up comedian. His first acting role was in the film The End of the Golden Weather. Since then, he has appeared in a wide range of TV shows, films and commercials, and is perhaps best known for roles in Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Go Girls. He has won two acting awards, for performances in TV series City Life, and 2010 movie The Insatiable Moon.
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 and singer Esther Stephens made her television debut as Olivia on popular show Go Girls. Since then Stephens has acted on TV both here and across the Tasman, including Westside, When We Go to War, the Kiwi version of Underbelly, and in NZ/Australian co-production 800 Words.
Cohen Holloway is a singer, actor and comedian who first made an impact on comedy shows Pulp Comedy and Facelift. Holloway went on to act in movies After the Waterfall, and Taika Waititi hits Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In 2009 he won a Qantas Best Actor Award after starring as David Dougherty in TV drama Until Proven Innocent. In 2015 he starred in Māori Television’s acclaimed comedy series Find Me a Māori Bride.
Rima Te Wiata won fame with her impersonations of famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Her most famous parody was of newsreader Judy Bailey. Te Wiata is also a successful dramatic actor, having appeared in Shark in the Park and Shortland Street. Her film credits include Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Actor Roy Billing has talked of becoming "an overnight sensation in my early 60s", thanks to playing ‘Aussie Bob’ Trimbole in hit Australian drama Underbelly. Before that he had a successful 30 year acting career in both Australia (Rabbit Proof Fence, The Dish and Siam Sunset) and New Zealand (Inside Straight, Gliding On and Skin and Bone).
Ken Blackburn is a British born actor and writer who emigrated to New Zealand as a child. In his long career, Blackburn has appeared in theatre and screen productions in New Zealand, Australia and Britain. He is best known in this country for his portrayal of The Boss in the popular sitcom Gliding On. His other TV credits include Close to Home, Hunter’s Gold, Moynihan and Shortland Street. His film credits include Skin Deep and Rest for the Wicked.
Pana Hema-Taylor plays one of the petty criminals in hit TV show Westside. His other roles include based on a true story TV movie Resolve, The Brokenwood Mysteries, hit movie Boy, and road drama The Most Fun You Can Have Dying.