Emmy award-winning producer/director Denis Harvey cut his teeth on TVNZ information shows Dig This, Kaleidoscope, and Science Express. Later he moved into sports. Harvey has gone on to make a significant contribution to television sports coverage both nationally and internationally, particularly in America’s Cup coverage and Olympic yachting. In recent times, he has also produced Asian and Israeli versions of The Amazing Race.
Wayne Leonard began his career as a sound operator, but later moved to directing, where he made his name helming sports and live shows that require multiple cameras. Leonard has directed some of the biggest events on television from the Olympic Games and America’s Cup, to Christmas in the Park. He has also produced or directed primetime TV shows This is Your Life, My Kitchen Rules and Game of Two Halves. In 2013 he was part of the team nominated for multiple Emmy awards for coverage of the America’s Cup in San Francisco.
Sam Wills started out performing as a child magician, and in 2016 found himself on the America’s Got Talent stage as Tape Face.
Sam Pillsbury is a self-described American-Kiwi who has made films in both New Zealand and the US. He began his prolific career at the National Film Unit directing the notable documentaries Ralph Hotere and Men and Supermen. Pillsbury’s first feature film was The Scarecrow, starring John Carradine, which was the first New Zealand film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival. Pillsbury co-wrote the script for The Quiet Earth, but 'fired himself' from the director role on the movie. His next major film was Starlight Hotel.
Singer and television presenter Ray Columbus, OBE, became a headline act in 1961 when he appeared on Time Out for Talent at the age of 18. He went on to perform on or host a huge range of music and light entertainment TV shows including: Club Columbus, C’Mon, Happen Inn, Personality Squares and That’s Country. With his band Ray Columbus and the Invaders, he had two big hits with ‘She’s a Mod’ and ‘Till We Kissed’.
David de Lautour has had acting success in both NZ and the United States. He debuted with small roles in Xena: Warrior Princess before moving on to kidult shows Being Eve and The Amazing Extraordinary Friends. Now based in LA, de Lautour has been seen in a number of big US dramas such as NCIS and Once Upon a Time, plus sitcom What I Like about You. He has gone on to star in Outrageous Fortune prequel Westside, as family patriarch Ted West.
New Zealander Phil Keoghan has become an internationally-known TV host thanks to his role on Emmy-winning reality series The Amazing Race. Keoghan began his career as a TVNZ cameraman before moving into presenting on kids show Spot On. He hosted on a number of TV shows in New Zealand, including That's Fairly Interesting. Keoghan moved to the United States in the 1990s, where he began to get broadcasting work, eventually landing the coveted role as host of The Amazing Race. Keoghan has also produced and presented other international shows.
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.
Simone Kessell first appeared on screen playing Hannah Tumai on short-lived soap Homeward Bound. She acted in both Hercules and Xena before being cast as a TV journalist on Cover Story, and as the lead in period drama Greenstone. Kessell has worked in both America and Australia, and appeared in Aussie dramas Underbelly and Wonderland.
Alongside more than 50 years as a radio personality, Barry Holland has appeared on New Zealand TV screens many times. Holland has been a weather presenter and newsreader, and has commentated the Olympic Games and America’s Cup. He was also the presenter on a number of popular TV shows, including On the Mat, Top Town and Sunday Afternoon Sportsworld.