When people think of Ginette McDonald, they often think of one of New Zealand’s most defiant and famed purveyers of Godzone English, Lynn of Tawa. But for McDonald, Lynn 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Actor Rena Owen found fame through her role as matriarch Beth Heke in hard-hitting feature film Once Were Warriors. She went on to spend two decades years in Los Angeles, though she returned to New Zealand to act in Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children and Fiona Samuel's TV movie Piece of My Heart.
Actor Lynn Waldegrave found TV fame appearing on comedy shows A Week of It and McPhail and Gadsby, before relocating to London for 20 years. She discusses her long career in this laugh-filled Funny As interview, including: Memories of her father’s humour, and him having a “face for every day of the week” How an inebriated fart led to her being cast in A Week of It Working on McPhail and Gadsby and being made to do “murderous things” – but having fun Running into actor William Shatner after emerging from a lake in Hagley Park for a McPhail and Gadsby skit Public reaction when she exposed her breasts for a ‘Nude News’ skit Sending up Radio with Pictures host Karyn Hay — and how much Hay hated it