Actor Mia Blake made her screen debut in ensemble comedy film Hopeless, which then became the TV series Lovebites. In 2006 Blake won an NZ Screen Award for her role in Toa Fraser film No. 2, then starred in horror movie The Tattooist. Blake was nominated again after playing a woman giving birth in short film This is Her. Blake has gone on to act in The Millen Baird Show, Auckland Daze and Golden.
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.
Kate McDermott is a scriptwriter whose words have been heard in a long list of popular TV comedies and dramas. She began as a writer on Shortland Street, and later became a story-liner for the soap. McDermott then moved on to writing for series like Being Eve, Mercy Peak, Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune. In 2014, McDermott’s own creation Step Dave became a popular series for TVNZ, and ran for two series.
Ngila Dickson is an Academy Award-winning costume designer who has been involved in some of our biggest film and TV projects. Her first film experience was on User Friendly and since then she has designed for Jack Be Nimble, Heavenly Creatures, Crush and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In television, she made a name for herself designing costumes for Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Dickson has also worked on a range of international movies.
Versatile director Mike Smith has made an enormous amount of New Zealand drama. Highlights of his lengthy television CV include Radio Waves, Duggan, Serial Killers, The Almighty Johnsons, Nothing Trivial, tele-movie Siege and docu-drama Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. Smith also had a big hand in creating Heroes (80s pop band on-the-make show), yokels comedy Willy Nilly, children’s drama The Lost Children and 2013 comedy Sunny Skies. He was also one of the key players in the launch of Outrageous Fortune.
Stephen Stehlin is the longtime producer of TVNZ's weekly magazine show Tagata Pasifika, which targets Pacific communities in New Zealand. He has also worked on a number of other factual TV shows like Koha, Māori Battalion - March to Victory and When the Haka Became Boogie. Stehlin was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008 for services to Pacific Island television and the arts.
Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh is the eye behind some of the most iconic images in New Zealand film. His first job in the industry was as a 'general assistant' on Middle Age Spread. From there he worked as a gaffer on films including Smash Palace, Goodbye Pork Pie and Came A Hot Friday, before becoming a fully-fledged cinematographer, learning much of what he knows from his mentor Alun Bollinger, who operated the camera for him on The Piano. Since shooting The Piano, Dryburgh has been working overseas, returning to film In My Father’s Den in 2004.
Actor Dean O’Gorman won his first lead role in a movie with Bonjour Timothy aged only 17. Soon after he joined the cast of Shortland Street, before appearing in a long list of international and local TV dramas including Young Hercules, McLeod’s Daughters and The Almighty Johnsons.
A generation of Kiwi kids grew up watching Jason Gunn on television. At the same time Gunn grew up on television himself. Beginning in children’s TV, Gunn hosted Jase TV, The Son of a Gunn Show, After School, and What Now? Through many of these shows his co-star was a hugely popular life size puppet named Thingee. Gunn moved on to other programmes such as Young Entertainers and Small Talk. In recent years Gunn has starred in a host of top-rating primetime entertainment and game shows including Wheel of Fortune, The Rich List and Dancing with the Stars.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand is often referred to as acting royalty in New Zealand. Ten years after her first interview with NZ On Screen, Ward-Lealand sits down again to bring us up to date on what she’s been up to over the past decade.