Rima Te Wiata created a name for herself impersonating famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Te Wiata has acted in everything from Australian soap Sons and Daughters to movie Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Englishman David Bellamy is a world famous botanist, author, broadcaster and conservationist. He came to prominence in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s with numerous natural history programmes. His trademark beard, larger than life personality and ability to make science understandable made him a popular addition to family viewing time. In 1990 he came to New Zealand to host Moa’s Ark, a landmark documentary series telling the history of our country’s unique evolutionary past. In recent years, Bellamy has become a more controversial figure with his claims that global warming is just part of the earth’s natural climate cycle.
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.
Got a major live event you want to put on television? Ron Pledger has long been one of the first people to get on the phone. The MBE-awarded director has commanded live coverage of Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral, Kiri Te Kanawa in concert, This is Your Life and roughly 20 Anzac Day ceremonies. His screen career also encompasses church choirs, Canadian soap operas, the infamous GOFTA awards, and the madness of Top Town.
Roger Gascoigne was at one stage the most famous man on New Zealand television. He began his TV career as a continuity announcer and introduced his infamous wink to the nation. He went on to present a huge range of TV shows in the 70s and 80s including Ready to Roll, Top Town and several Telethons. During the 80s he made the transition to news presenting on regional show Today Tonight.
The path of comedy folk duo Flight of the Conchords is dotted with failure, dismal corporate gigs, globetrotting fans and Grammy Awards. This extended Funny As interview sees Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie savouring their memories of the early days, and all the TV shows that got rejected along the way. Among the topics mentioned are: Wearing naked suits on the streets of Melbourne while promoting an early show The perpetual challenge of singing and playing guitar at the same time The Wellington stylings of their comedy — and how creative collaborator Taika Waititi throws a mean pizza McKenzie's opinion that Pulp Comedy "wasn't very flattering or helpful" to the comedians who featured on it How they probably wouldn't have lasted if that infamous, rejected show for TVNZ had ever come to pass How the Conchords got their name
Late comedian and writer Jon Gadsby was an integral part of the local comedy landscape. With his long-time friend and colleague David McPhail, Gadsby headlined some of New Zealand's most iconic comedy shows this country has produced. They first teamed up in the 1970s for A Week of It, which took pot-shots at politicians, news, and everyday life. The pair then moved on to the long-running McPhail and Gadsby. Gadsby also penned rural comedy Rabbiter's Rest and co-created Letter to Blanchy.
Taika Waititi [Te-Whānau-a-Apanui] acted in movies Scarfies and Snakeskin, TV show The Strip (sometimes under the credit Taika Cohen), and appeared on stage as a stand-up comedian. Turning his creative energies towards directing, he made Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night, and Tama Tū, based on the experiences of The Māori Battalion in WWII. He has gone on to great success directing (and sometimes appearing in) feature films.
Des Monaghan has made an enormous contribution to the television industry as a TV producer and network executive in both New Zealand and Australia. Starting as a trainee producer with the NZBC, Monaghan produced a range of pioneering current affairs shows such as Town and Around, Gallery and Compass. In more recent years, Monaghan set up Australasian production company Screentime, whose slate includes popular shows Popstars, Underbelly, Police Ten 7 and Beyond the Darklands.
Director and producer Mark Beesley has worked on some of New Zealand's most high profile series, including Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street, The Blue Rose and The Almighty Johnsons. Beesley also worked on the big American shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: Legendary Journeys. He also wrote and directed the 'Westie' feature film Savage Honeymoon, which some credit as an inspiration for Outrageous Fortune.