In over 30 years as a producer and director with TVNZ, Derek Wooster made a huge contribution to both mainstream and Māori broadcasting. Among his many projects, Wooster created and produced Marae – the country’s longest running Māori current affairs programme. Other notable achievements include producing the tangihanga of Dame Whina Cooper and the Māori Queen.
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.
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.
James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora make up the Modern Māori Quartet.
Producer Larry Parr has had a hand in producing a number of classic New Zealand films, including Sleeping Dogs, Came a Hot Friday and Smash Palace. He has also made forays into directing with Fracture and A Soldier's Tale. After three years as Head of Programming at Māori Television, Parr became Television Manager at Te Māngai Pāho, which funds Māori radio and TV programmes.
Paora Maxwell is the Chief Executive of Māori Television, and a former General Manager of Māori and Pacific Programmes at TVNZ. He began his TV career as a director on children’s shows Play School and 3:45 LIVE!. Maxwell also ran his own company Te Aratai Productions for 15 years.
Ray Waru has had a long and distinguished career as a producer and director in both television and radio. He began his TV career working on factual series such as Country Calendar, Fair Go, People Like Us and Tomorrow’s World. In 1980 he established the Māori television production unit at TVNZ, and launched the first regular Māori primetime show Koha. Waru went on to work on major documentary series Our People Our Century and Frontier of Dreams.
Producer Rhonda Kite, who runs Kiwa Media Group, has worked on television, film, and interactive book projects. Her first production was award-winning 1998 documentary Otara: Defying the Odds. She also produced the controversial Chinks, Coconuts and Curry-munchers and, on the big screen, Squeegee Bandit. Kite produced anthology series Mataku and long-running arts show Kete Aronui. Kiwa Media Group has also pioneered a process of dubbing films into other languages.
Bailey Mackey is a former reporter on Te Karere and 3 News, who is now producing commercial Māori series through his company Pango Productions. He was the main creative force behind high profile show The GC, and reality series The Life and Times of Temuera Morrison.
Kerry Warkia started her career as an actress, but is increasingly making a name for herself as a successful producer in the web world. She is the producer of Auckland Daze, Flat3, and Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life. Warkia and her husband Kiel McNaughton run production company Brown Sugar Apple Grunt, and are two of the key creative forces behind hit Māori Television show Find Me a Māori Bride.