Rachel House is an accomplished theatre actor and director, but she has also established a strong screen career, beginning with gritty roles in Tiger Country and Queenie and Pete. Since then she has played both comedic and dramatic parts in a string of high profile movies including Whale Rider, Eagle vs Shark and Boy.
Actor Jeffrey Thomas has had a long and varied career in both TV and theatre. His best-known television role was as Inspector Brian Finn in the police series Shark in the Park. Thomas has also appeared in Mercy Peak, Shortland Street, Spartacus and Outrageous Fortune.
Nathaniel Lees is an NZ-born Samoan actor who has acted on both stage and screen. Lees began his screen career with small roles in Death Warmed Up and Other Halves, before joining Billy T James on his sketch comedy shows. Lees went on to appear in a number of TV dramas including Shark in the Park , City Life, Gloss, Shortland Street and Street Legal. His many film roles include Sione’s Wedding, The Lord of the Rings, Rapa Nui and The Matrix trilogy.
Cohen Holloway is a singer, actor and comedian who first made an impact on comedy shows Pulp Comedy and Facelift. Holloway went on to act in movies After the Waterfall, and Taika Waititi hits Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In 2009 he won a Qantas Best Actor Award after starring as David Dougherty in TV drama Until Proven Innocent. In 2015 he starred in Māori Television’s acclaimed comedy series Find Me a Māori Bride.
Veteran actor Kevin J Wilson has made a career out of playing no-nonsense Kiwi blokes. His film credits include Pictures, Wild Horses and Chunuk Bair. He played Janet Frame’s father in Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, starred in the Wellington-based TV cop series Shark in the Park, and replaced the late Bruno Lawrence in the Aussie comedy show Frontline.
Alison Bruce is an award-winning actress who has played a diverse range of film and TV characters. She has starred in New Zealand’s long-running soap Shortland Street and some of our biggest TV dramas such as Shark in the Park, Mercy Peak and the kidult comedy Being Eve. Her film career includes roles in The World’s Fastest Indian, An Angel At My Table, and Reckless Behaviour.
Actress and TV presenter Miriama Smith made her acting debut in cop show Shark in the Park. At 20 she graduated to Shortland Street, playing nurse Awhina Broughton. Since then, Smith has appeared in a raft of TV shows including Mercy Peak, Mataku and Serial Killers. She played lawyer Donna Hall in tele-feature Stolen, was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and a judge on the Prime Television version of New Zealand’s Got Talent.
Will Hall fell into a screen career by accident after hanging out with filmmakers at Lincoln University - an unlikely scenario given his study towards a commerce degree. Since then, Hall has forged a career both in front of and behind the camera. Hall’s introduction to trans-Tasman film work had some teething problems, but on returning to NZ he landed a key role in The Insiders Guide to Happiness. Roles in Eagle vs Shark, Shortland Street and tele-feature Bloodlines followed, as well as Underbelly - Land of the Long Green Cloud and Nothing Trivial. Hall also co-produced and acted in his own feature film Netherwood, described as NZ's first modern day western thriller.
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.
Ainsley Gardiner (Te-Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Awa) fell in love with the magic of the big screen while growing up in Whakatane, where you could find her most Fridays at the local cinema catching the latest release. Her first formal foray into film and television came in 1995 when she joined producer Larry Parr at Kahukura Productions, eventually producing low budget feature Kombi Nation (2003) and co-producing the 26-part comedy/drama TV series Love Bites (2002). Following the demise of Kahukura, Gardiner teamed up with Taika Waititi to work on Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars, One Night. Soon after that she established Whenua Films with actor/producer Cliff Curtis. Together the trio struck creative gold with World War II short Tama Tū, Waititi's debut feature Eagle vs Shark and box office hit Boy.