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.
Peter Hayden has one of the best known faces and voices in New Zealand, having presented and voiced hundreds of nature documentaries on television. His many documentary series include the hugely successful Wild South and Latitude 45. Hayden is also a successful actor and has appeared in a range of dramas including: The Fire-Raiser, Footrot Flats and Beyond Reasonable Doubt.
Actor Mark Hadlow first appeared on our TV screens as a teenage bully in Children of Fire Mountain. Later he worked alongside Ilona Rodgers and Billy T James in the sitcom version of The Billy T James Show. His flair for comedy earned him starring roles in the film Just Me and Mario, and TV series Willy Nilly. Hadlow has worked twice with director Peter Jackson – first providing voices to a range of characters in Meet the Feebles, and then playing both a dwarf and a troll in The Hobbit trilogy.
Production manager Brian Walden proved a near unstoppable force during the mid 70s dawn of Kiwi TV drama. Known as 'the Sarge' to those who worked with him, Walden was on location to bring in a slew of classic dramas, on time and budget: among them were Hunter’s Gold, The Mackenzie Affair, Gather Your Dreams, Mortimer's Patch and legal classic Hanlon. In the mid 80s he left TVNZ to go freelance, and helped produce everything from vampire movie Moonrise to TV's The New Adventures of Black Beauty.
Australian import Mark Ferguson made a big impact as an actor in New Zealand from his first appearance on Gloss. He went on to play Darryl Neilson, one of Shortland Street's most memorable villains, followed by Darryl’s good guy brother Damien. Since then, Ferguson has appeared in the Spin Doctors series and international shows such as Hercules and Spartacus.
Maxine Fleming has been a writer on many of New Zealand’s most-loved TV shows. The beginning of her television career was a baptism of fire as a writer on soap opera Shortland Street. She went on to create or co-create a number of shows including Being Eve, Agent Anna, Burying Brian and 800 Words. Other writing credits include Outrageous Fortune, Mercy Peak and The Chosen. In 2016, Fleming was lured back to Shortland Street as its producer.
John A Givins (Johnny) is an actor, director and producer. His independent production company Livingstone Productions is best known for the long-running TV2 LGBT series Queer Nation, and the award-winning TV ONE documentary series Captain's Log.
Rob Sarkies' first three movies have all begun in southern climes, then headed in unexpected directions. Scarfies celebrates Dunedin student life, before morphing into a twisted examination of morality under fire. Out of the Blue celebrates community and the ordinary person, while recreating the 1990 killings at Aramoana. Two Little Boys is a black comedy featuring Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie and Australian comedian Hamish Blake.
John Leigh is one of NZ's most versatile and experienced actors, with over 40 NZ TV and film credits to his name, including roles in Outrageous Fortune, Serial Killers, Stickmen, Shortland Street and Mercy Peak, plus numerous theatre and voice-over appearances. From early beginnings in the Wellington theatre scene through his first major TV role as Lionel Skeggins on Shortland Street, he is a familiar face on NZ stage and screen. His talents also extend to voice-over with several character appearances on Power Rangers, along with numerous advertising campaigns.
Ido Drent is a model turned actor who first won fans playing Daniel Potts in hit soap Shortland Street. Drent then made his mark in Australia after playing a young therapist in Offspring, and drummer Jon Farriss in 2014 miniseries INXS: Never Tear Us Apart. Drent also portrayed a Gallipoli soldier in Kiwi miniseries When We Go to War.