World-renowned children's author the late Margaret Mahy and television and film producer and director Yvonne Mackay collaborated on a number of screen projects based on Mahy's books and scripts.
Jessica Hansell (aka Coco Solid) is a creative chameleon — she's an artist, musician, writer, director and actor. The creator of animated series Aroha Bridge talks about a variety of topics in this Funny As interview, including: Realising the power of comedy to tell important stories — and be a "political weapon" How writing and acting in Māori news satire Brown Eye in 2015 "made people realise I wasn't messing around" How her Aroha Bridge characters are a "Frankenstein of Māori and multicultural archetypes I see every day" The "massive effect" Billy T James had on her, and how his Captain Cook sketches "taught you about the truths of colonisation" Rating the acting of childhood friend Madeleine Sami as the "standard that I hold other performers to"
Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa) is one of our foremost Māori broadcasters. He has worked as a reporter, writer, director, producer and executive producer. His credits include Maori Battalion March to Victory and The New Zealand Wars. Stephens was a stalwart of TVNZ’s Māori Programmes department in the 1980s and 90s, working on the regular series Koha, Waka Huia, Marae and Mai Time.
A dry spell on the acting front saw Albert Belz turn his hand to writing for theatre and television.
Ken Blackburn is a British born actor and writer who emigrated to New Zealand as a child. In his long career, Blackburn has appeared in theatre and screen productions in New Zealand, Australia and Britain. He is best known in this country for his portrayal of The Boss in the popular sitcom Gliding On. His other TV credits include Close to Home, Hunter’s Gold, Moynihan and Shortland Street. His film credits include Skin Deep and Rest for the Wicked.
Mika (aka Neil Gudsell) has had a diverse career from aerobics champion and actor, to dancer and singer.
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.
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.
Nathan Rarere landed a presenting role on What Now? in the 90s, but turned it down because he didn't want to be on TV. Eventually he changed his mind.
In his third interview for Funny As, comedian and 7 Days presenter Jeremy Corbett discusses more singular comedic pursuits, including his extensive career in radio and TV. On top of mentioning how his university degree ran a “distant third” to DJing on Radio Massey and the capping revue, he talks about: Being part of the team that established Energy FM in New Plymouth — including Steven Joyce in his pre-MP days — and being the only one to leave early and miss out on becoming a millionaire Spending 18 years as breakfast host on More FM, then losing interest when radio became homogenised: the “oh I put the coloureds in with the whites in the washing machine, have you ever done that? Text us” moment The awkward moment where he played a tasteless parody song to singer John Mayer in a radio interview Memories of a comedy pilot with Paul Holmes and Mike Hosking, which turned into “a pissing contest between the two of them to be either the most knowledgeable or funniest” 7 Days being his "dream show”, the importance of the writers' room, and getting goosebumps watching the first show go to air Changing a te reo comedy routine on The Project, after taking on board feedback that the routine was “not particularly woke” — and the challenge of delivering the routine in Māori Jeremy Corbett can also be seen in these Funny As interviews with his brother Nigel, and as part of comedy group Facial DBX.