When people think of Ginette McDonald, they often think of one of New Zealand’s most defiant and famed purveyers of Godzone English, Lyn of Tawa. But for McDonald, Lyn is only one part among many. Alongside an acting career which began when she was still a teenager, McDonald has also worked as a producer, director and presenter.
After making her television debut on Shortland Street in 2004, Siobhan Marshall won fame as straight-talking sister Pascalle West over six seasons of Outrageous Fortune. In 2005 she won celebrity singing contest Sing Like a Superstar. More recently she made a guest appearance on The Almighty Johnsons, and starred with her Outrageous screen sister Antonia Prebble as co-star of The Blue Rose.
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 Joel Tobeck has played a range of ‘off-centre’ roles from a drug addict to a "bastard in a wheelchair". He has appeared in TV shows Shortland Street, Lawless, Hercules, This is Not My Life and (after this interview) Sons of Anarchy, as well as movies Topless Women Talk About Their Lives and Little Fish.
At the age of 15 actor and singer Stephanie Tauevihi debuted on TV as a reporter on the youth current affairs show InFocus. She gained nationwide fame playing Donna Heka on Shortland Street for seven years. Tauevihi has also appeared in the feature films Rest for the Wicked and Russian Snark. She won Best Supporting Actress at the 2010 Qantas Awards for her role in the latter film.
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.
Actor Theresa Healey first appeared on screen entertaining a generation of kids on Play School, having already supplied the voice for the show's famous opening. She won fame thanks to a five year stint as popular character Carmen Roberts on Shortland Street. Since then Healey has acted in a range of New Zealand TV dramas including Mercy Peak, Go Girls and Filthy Rich. She has also acted in films Jubilee, Savage Honeymoon and Vermilion.
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.
Actor turned producer/director Julian Arahanga made his screen debut at age 11, starring alongside Annie Whittle in short film The Makutu on Mrs Jones. He shot to fame playing novice gang member Nig Heke in landmark movie Once Were Warriors, then went on to act in a number of films including Broken English. Since setting up his own production company Awa Films, Arahanga has directed and produced TV series Songs from the Inside and acclaimed documentary Turangaarere: The John Pohe Story.
Lisa Chappell won early fame playing spoilt rich kid Chelsea Redfern in 1980s soap Gloss. After acting in police drama Shark in the Park, she moved to Australia and landed a major role in hit series McLeod’s Daughters.