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.
Award-winning documentary maker John Bates is a Scotsman who has lived in New Zealand for over 40 years. His documentaries have covered a range of genres, from the arts — Sense of Place: Robin Morrison Photographer, Reflections - Gretchen Albrecht — to social issues — New Faces Old Fears, Crime and Punishment — to history: 1951, Banned - 100 Years of Censorship in New Zealand. In 2010, Bates directed and produced acclaimed series 50 Years of New Zealand Television.
Even as a schoolboy, Oliver Driver knew he wanted to be an actor. Since leaving school he has had a varied career in theatre, television and film. Playing the role of male nurse Mike Galloway in Shortland Street made Driver a famous face in New Zealand, but he has also appeared in other homemade TV shows such as The Strip, Serial Killers, and Letter to Blanchy, and the films Topless Women Talk about Their Lives, Magik and Rose, Black Sheep, and A Death in the Family. Driver appeared as the villainous ‘Mr Wilberforce’ in the feature film Under the Mountain.
Gordon Dryden has had a long and distinguished career in journalism, public relations and broadcasting. He became a familiar face on New Zealand television in the 1970s, fronting sports and then current affairs programming. Dryden made a name for himself as a tough interviewer on The Friday Conference, and as a talk radio host. In recent years, Dryden has developed education books both in print and online.
Producer Ric Salizzo started out as a sports reporter and newsreader on the radio. In his early television days, he was criticised for frowning during news bulletins, and he freely admits that conventional sports broadcasting was not his forte. Salizzo found his production niche with the ground-breaking rugby documentaries The Good, the Bad and the Rugby and Blood, Sweat and Touring. He was also producer and co-host of long-running sports entertainment show SportsCafe, and is currently Executive Producer of The Crowd Goes Wild.
Veteran broadcaster Bill McCarthy was the popular face of TV news and sport in the 1970s. Starting as a sports anchor, he later moved to primetime news-reading, and then became a producer on the classical music series Opus, as well as one-off big event television such as the 1987 Rugby World Cup and Telethon. In later years, McCarthy has produced host broadcasts for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and become involved with Christian broadcaster Shine TV.
Rachel Lang has been one of the driving forces behind some of New Zealand’s most popular television dramas. Beginning as a story editor on 1980s dramas Shark in the Park and Open House, she moved on to Shortland Street as a story-liner and then as the show’s Executive Producer for a number of years. Lang collaborated with writer Gavin Strawhan to create the South Pacific Pictures dramas Jackson’s Wharf and Mercy Peak. Later she developed the enormously successful Outrageous Fortune, as well as Maddigan’s Quest and Go Girls.
Peter Hayden has one of the best known faces and voices in New Zealand, having presented and voiced hundreds of nature documentaries on television. His many documentary series include the hugely successful Wild South and Latitude 45. Hayden is also a successful actor and has appeared in a range of dramas including: The Fire-Raiser, Footrot Flats and Beyond Reasonable Doubt.
Bill Ralston has had a long, varied, and sometimes controversial career in New Zealand's media. He joined South Pacific Television as a news reporter in 1979 and went on to become political correspondent for TVNZ in the era of Muldoon and Lange. Moving to TV3, Ralston was the channel’s Political Editor and hosted a current affairs slot on their nightly news bulletin. Ralston joined the Nightline team and later hosted popular panel discussion show The Ralston Group, then arts/media series Backch@t. In 2003 he became Head of News and Current Affairs for TVNZ.
Susan Wood is one of New Zealand’s most experienced TV news and current affairs presenters. Beginning in print journalism, Wood soon moved to TVNZ, where she stayed for 20+ years. Wood has a number of firsts to her career, including first TVNZ foreign correspondent (Sydney); first host of Midday News; and first host (with Mike Hosking) of TV ONE’s Breakfast.