Tom Parkinson is a veteran television producer and director who has worked on iconic Kiwi TV shows such as Hunter’s Gold, Hudson and Halls and Telethon. Parkinson was a key force behind many of our hit comedies in the 70s and 80s, including Billy T James’ shows, A Week of It, Issues, and Letter to Blanchy. Parkinson is also a former Head of Entertainment Programmes at TVNZ, and helped launch TV3.
A career in film promotions helped win Brian Holland a job programming films to screen on TVNZ. In his 12 years at the state broadcaster he moved from movies to general programming for TV2. Since leaving TVNZ he has worked for various production companies, developing a range of programming.
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.
The late Marcia Russell was an award-winning journalist and TV writer/producer with a long career in New Zealand media. Her first television role was as host of the 1970s talk show Speakeasy. Russell moved on to news and current affairs roles with TVNZ, and helped set up the fledgling TV3 news department in the late 1980s. She was involved with some of the most notable documentary series produced in New Zealand such as Landmarks and The New Zealand Wars. Russell also produced the four-part documentary series Revolution, which chronicled the rise of the Lange Government and its impact on the New Zealand economy and society. Russell was awarded an OBE for services to journalism in 1996 and was a recipient of the Academy of Film and Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
John Clarke was one of New Zealand’s best-loved comic performers. His 1970s farming character Fred Dagg became an icon of Kiwi comedy. Clarke worked as a comedian, actor, writer and director. His satirical television series The Games was an Australian Film Institute award-winner. Although based in Australia since 1977, he lent his unmistakeable comic voice to Kiwi TV comedies bro’Town and Radiradirah. In a departure from our usual ScreenTalk format, this extended audio interview was produced and recorded by Andrew Johnstone and Richard Swainson with the assistance of Hamilton Community Radio and The Film School.
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.
David Beatson was a broadcasting veteran with more than 50 years experience in journalism. Beatson began his television career as a reporter on magazine show Town and Around, before developing a reputation for a no-nonsense interviewing style on shows like Gallery and Eyewitness. Later in his career Beatson became the editor of the Listener, chief press secretary to PM Jim Bolger and chairman of NZ On Air.
Jodie Rimmer grew up in a sporty family whose dinner time conversations were more likely to be about the latest rugby or netball news than the finer aspects of television performance or character arc. Fast forward a handful of years and it's Rimmer’s stand-out performances as Donna Chisholm in the David Doherty inspired tele-feature Until Proven Innocent, or as Wendy Snowden (Mrs Peter Cook) in international feature Not Only But Always that might now be the topic of some dinner party conversations.
Temuera Morrison is best known for one of New Zealand’s most graphic film performances: Jake Heke in Once Were Warriors. He reprised his role in the redemption sequel What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? Before the Warriors films, Morrison played Dr Hone Ropata in the long-running soap Shortland Street. He has appeared in a range of TV productions and a number of Hollywood films including the Star Wars franchise.
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.