Journalist and academic the late Paul Norris had a major role in changing the landscape of television news and current affairs in New Zealand. He cut his teeth with the BBC, but moved back to New Zealand to run TVNZ’s News and Current Affairs division in 1987. In that role, he revamped the evening news on TV One, and launched the Holmes show in 1989. Norris left TVNZ in 1996 to head the New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch. Norris died in February 2014.
Jon Bridges was born in America. Since moving to New Zealand at the age of three, he has made hundreds of hours of television for NZers - not only from in front of the camera, but also behind it. Bridges' comic dexterity came to light on our screens in the early 90s with TV shows like A Bit After Ten and Away Laughing, but his first big TV role was as co-presenter of the long-running TV3 series Ice TV, which debuted in 1995. Since Ice TV, Bridges has written, directed, produced and starred in numerous documentaries, dramas, game shows and films. He is currently producing TV3's well-received comedy panel show 7 Days.
Programmer John McCready has had a significant impact on the television industry in New Zealand. After extended time in music and radio he joined TVNZ in 1989 as Manager of Presentation and Promotion, just as TV3 came on air. The following year McCready became TVNZ's Director of Programming, and revamped both TV1 and TV2 over a four year period. He headed overseas for a while, before returning to New Zealand as Director of Programming and Marketing for Sky TV. Before retiring in 2007, McCready successfully launched The Living Channel and Food TV on Sky.
Paora Maxwell is the Chief Executive of Māori Television, and a former General Manager of Māori and Pacific Programmes at TVNZ. He began his TV career as a director on children’s shows Play School and 3:45 LIVE!. Maxwell also ran his own company Te Aratai Productions for 15 years.
Alister Barry is the filmmaker behind a series of provocative and politically charged documentaries, most of them self-funded. His first documentary Mururoa 1973 tackled nuclear testing, and saw him on a boat headed into the middle of a bomb test zone. Over the next four decades Barry has continued to make significant political documentaries including Someone Else’s Country, The Hollow Men, Wildcat and Hot Air.
Janice Finn is a television writer/producer who has also spent time in front of the camera. Her acting roles have included parts in Close to Home and The Strip. Finn produced the high camp 80s soap Gloss and 90s drama Marlin Bay, and has written extensively for Shortland Street. She has also produced reality series such as Changing Rooms for Touchdown Productions. Lately Finn has been producing documentaries for Natural History New Zealand.
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.
Journalist turned media trainer Allison Webber began in television at a time when women were more likely to be making the tea than making programmes. After working alongside names like Brian Edwards and Ian Johnstone, she became part of a new generation of women producers and directors who changed the shape of what went on air, especially with her ground-breaking documentary series Expressions of Sexuality.
Chris Dudman is an award-winning filmmaker with credits in New Zealand and the UK. His short film Blackwater Summer was nominated for a Student Academy Award. Dudman has gone on to direct both documentary (New Zealand at War, The Day that Changed My Life, Zoo) and drama (Oscar Kightley police show Harry, short film Choice Night). Dudman also directs TV commercials, including the popular Pukeko ads for Genesis Energy.
Sky TV CEO John Fellet is a veteran of pay TV, having started his career in his native Arizona, and been with Sky TV in New Zealand since 1991. He became the company’s CEO in 2001, and helped build it into one of the dominant media companies in the country.