Veteran entertainer Ray Woolf has appeared on television and film as a pop singer, song and dance man, TV host and actor. Starting out as a singer, Woolf made a splash on television in the swinging 60s music shows C’mon and Happen Inn. His career took an unusual direction when he turned up as co-host on the long-running children’s show Play School. Showing his versatility as a performer, Woolf also hosted his self-titled chat show The Ray Woolf Show, and has appeared in a number of TV dramas such as Xena, Marlin Bay, Street Legal, The Strip, and Nothing Trivial.
Singer and television presenter Ray Columbus, OBE, became a headline act in 1961 when he appeared on Time Out for Talent at the age of 18. He went on to perform on or host a huge range of music and light entertainment TV shows including: Club Columbus, C’Mon, Happen Inn, Personality Squares and That’s Country. With his band Ray Columbus and the Invaders, he had two big hits with ‘She’s a Mod’ and ‘Till We Kissed’.
Radio and TV host Jim Mora began his career reporting for regional news show The South Tonight. From there, he moved on to One News and then joined Holmes when it debuted in 1989. Over the years Mora became a household name voicing and presenting popular shows including Tux Wonder Dogs, Maggie’s Garden Show and the long-running Mucking In. Mora was also involved with the creation of animated TV shows The Adventures of Massey Ferguson and Staines Down Drains, and is a regular host on RNZ National.
For over 25 years Rod Morris worked with TVNZ’s Natural History Unit and its successor NHNZ, documenting the wildlife of New Zealand. His passion for the natural world lead to his involvement in award-winning documentary series The Black Robin, and Wild South, as well as numerous one-off documentaries including The Devil’s Playground, Wild Asia, Ghosts of Gondwana and Dragons of Komodo. Since leaving NHNZ, Morris has worked on many wildlife books.
Chas Toogood is an award-winning documentary producer and director whose work has showcased the strength and determination of the human spirit. He began his career as a news journalist and then moved on to a series of high profile documentaries including the Legends of the All Blacks series, Mark Inglis documentary No Mean Feat, and Sir Peter Blake – The Boy From Bayswater. Toogood has gone on to direct episodes of Wild Coasts with Craig Potton and Coast New Zealand.
Actor Greg Johnson began his career as a stand-up comedian. His first acting role was in the film The End of the Golden Weather. Since then, he has appeared in a wide range of TV shows, films and commercials, and is perhaps best known for roles in Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Go Girls. He has won two acting awards, for performances in TV series City Life, and 2010 movie The Insatiable Moon.
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.
Rock'n'roll couple Karyn Hay and Andrew Fagan have both had long and varied careers in New Zealand music and media. They have been night-time hosts on Radio Live, but Fagan spent many years as the lead singer of pop band The Mockers, and Hay was the long-time host of iconic music show Radio with Pictures. Hay and Fagan are also both published authors.
Stu Dennison was a much-loved TV presenter in the 1970s who introduced his ‘naughty schoolboy’ character and thumbs up to a generation of Kiwi kids, on show Nice One Stu. Sometimes he played sidekick to popular TV host Roger Gascoigne. After Dennison ended his on-air career, he re-invented himself as a sports producer at TVNZ.
Journalist and academic the late Paul Norris had a major role in changing the landscape of television news and current affairs in New Zealand. He cut his teeth with the BBC, but moved back to New Zealand to run TVNZ’s News and Current Affairs division in 1987. In that role, he revamped the evening news on TV One, and launched the Holmes show in 1989. Norris left TVNZ in 1996 to head the New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch. Norris died in February 2014.