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.
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.
Actress Rena Owen came to fame through her role as matriarch Beth Heke in the hard-hitting feature film Once Were Warriors. She now works internationally, but has returned to New Zealand for Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children and Fiona Samuel's Piece of My Heart.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.