TV producer Claudette Hauiti (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) began her career as a sports journalist on radio before moving to television news. In later years, her production company Front of the Box made ground-breaking Māori series such as Eye to Eye and Takatāpui, as well as the award-winning documentaries Gang Girls and Children of the Revolution.
Ben Barrington began his screen career on Wellington-based TV show The Strip. He won the role of a doctor on the acclaimed The Insiders Guide to Happiness before appearing as a gang leader in Outrageous Fortune. Since then, Barrington has co-starred as a Norse god in The Almighty Johnsons, shown some fancy footwork on Dancing with the Stars, and in 2015 began playing a doctor again on Shortland Street.
Rawiri Paratene (Ngā Puhi) was the first Māori student to graduate from the New Zealand Drama School, and he has since made an indelible mark on the NZ screenscape. Paratene’s small screen career began with a small part on The Governor, and playing Koro in 70s sitcom Joe and Koro. Paratene then hosted daily pre-school show Play School. Paratene is also an acclaimed writer whose credits include the TV dramas Erua and Dead Certs. On the big screen, Paratene has played the role of reformed gang member Mulla in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?; but it was his role as Koro in Whale Rider that garnered him international recognition.
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.
Mike King and Andrew Clay have been mates for years. Alongside their own solo Funny As interviews, they found time to get together, insult each other and reminisce about the old days. Among other topics, they describe: Cementing their friendship during a daunting gig in Hawera, after being told they hadn't performed for long enough to get paid Mike talks about Andrew being the first Kiwi stand-up comedian he was really impressed by — and having no idea that borrowing one of his comedy routines was not the done thing Andrew contrasts the dog-eat-dog stand-up scene in Sydney with the more friendly scene in New Zealand The two laugh about Andrew giving Mike advice in the early days — and how badly they negotiated the deal when they got their own bloopers show
Julian Arahanga shot to fame playing novice gang member Nig Heke in Once Were Warriors.
The late Whai Ngata (Ngāti Porou, Whānau ā Apanui), NZOM, had a long and distinguished career in television, radio and print. Beginning as a Māori reporter for The Auckland Star, Ngata moved on to Radio New Zealand in 1975, then joined TVNZ in 1983. Soon he was reading the news in Māori on Te Karere. Along with Ernie Leonard, he helped set up the Māori Programmes department at TVNZ, and was a key member of the Waka Huia team. In 1994 Ngata became head of the Māori department and was instrumental in creating long-running programmes like Marae and Mai Time.
Nancy Brunning's television debut was in the first episode of Shortland Street, as Nurse Jaki Manu. Brunning — who passed away in November 2019 — gave a memorable performance as gang girl Tania in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, and later won attention for her acting in movies The Strength of Water and Mahana. Her work for television included Mataku, Kōrero Mai, and award-winning TV movie Fish Skin Suit. Alongside a busy theatre career, she also directed 2008 short film Journey to Ihipa.
The Manawatu has provided fertile ground for New Zealand comedic talent, including producing six-person comedy group Facial DBX.