John Harris was the long-time owner of one of New Zealand’s biggest production companies: Greenstone Pictures. He began his television career at TVNZ working in news and current affairs and helped launch Top Half. Moving into the private sector he produced a number of TV shows including That’s Fairly Interesting and Heroes. In 1994 he created Greenstone Pictures, and went on to produce a huge range of TV shows such as The Zoo; Epitaph; Motorway Patrol; and Neighbours at War. In 2010 Greenstone acquired the production company Cream Media, and more recently Harris has sold Greenstone.
Ray Henwood, ONZM — father of comedian Dai — arrived in New Zealand from Wales, just in time for the birth of professional theatre downunder. Best known to TV viewers for five seasons playing Hugh on hit comedy Gliding On, Henwood’s screen roles included villains (The Legend of William Tell) and surgeons (Shortland Street). On stage he played Stalin, Einstein and Richard Burton, and starred in early plays at Wellington theatres Downstage and Circa.
Stacey Daniels Morrison began her TV career on What Now?, presenting a weekly cooking segment while still at high school. After missing out on a role at Ice TV to Petra Bagust, she joined current affairs series Marae, which helped her discover her Māori heritage. She then moved to fledgling music show Mai Time, where she found herself at the forefront of a change in the way Māori culture was portrayed on screen. Morrison has moved between presenting and working behind-the-scenes, on everything from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner to SportsCafe. She is also a radio broadcaster.
After starting in radio, comedian Tim Batt found his place with podcasts, including The Worst Idea of All Time — New Zealand’s most globally successful podcast. He discusses podcasts in this Funny As interview, and also talks about: Watching a “painfully shy” Guy Williams perform his first stand-up show His first radio job, learning from legendary DJ Kevin Black The challenges of being a political comedian in a small democracy Comedians moving into the commentary space, and whether that's good for society Working with comedian Guy Montgomery on The Worst Idea of All Time How 7 Days made it respectable to be a comedian in New Zealand Being "livid" when youth channel TVNZ U was cancelled — after “honing some of the best comedians in our part of the world”
Allan Martin was influential in television in both New Zealand and Australia. In the early 60s he helped the fledgling television arm of the BCNZ produce popular regional show Town and Around, and was a key player in the creation of ground-breaking current affairs series Compass. After time in Australian television, he returned to set up NZ's second TV channel South Pacific Television in 1975. Martin was later Director-General of TVNZ from 1980 to 1985.
Michael Heath's imagination has spawned movies bursting with murder and mayhem, as well as lyrical tales of childhood and unheralded artists. Heath's work ranges widely – some of his films are lyrical, comical and murderous all at the same time. His scripts include two contenders for New Zealand's first horror film (Death Warmed Up and Next of Kin), plus an affectionate adaptation of Ronald Hugh Morrieson classic The Scarecrow, which was the first Kiwi movie invited to the Cannes Film Festival. In recent years Heath has blossomed from writer into director.
Actor and stand-up comedian Rhys Darby is arguably best known as hapless Flight of the Conchords band manager Murray.
In the early 90s Vicki Walker acted in TV sketch show Away Laughing, and helped set up women's stand-up group A Girl's Gotta Eat. She talks about being a woman in comedy during the 80s/90s, and other subjects, including: Creating and playing her Away Laughing character Felicity, at a time when women rarely got to play their own characters on screen Growing up in Sydney with a "very serious father", before moving to New Zealand to study creative writing at Auckland University Giving stand-up a go in London during the mid 80s, performing in character as a waitress Helping create all women stand-up stage show A Girl's Gotta Eat, and recalling hundreds of people lining Ponsonby Road in Auckland eager to watch the group perform Feeling that she had to work harder and be funnier than her male TV colleagues —"I couldn't afford to be weak once because there might not be a second time" Walker talks in more depth about A Girl's Gotta Eat in this Funny As interview, along with Brenda Kendall and Fiona Edgar.
Keen to create new acting roles for Asian women and work with friends, JJ Fong and Ally Xue teamed up with fellow actor Perlina Lau and director Roseanne Liang to create web series Flat3 and Friday Night Bites. Fong and Xue talk in this Funny As interview about taking on comedy, multitasking on set and other subjects, including: Meeting each other (and fellow Flat3 star Perlina Lau) while acting in a children's play at university Asking Roseanne Liang, who'd just given birth to her second child, to write and direct Flat3 Creating new acting roles for themselves after being sick of being offered gigs as prostitutes or dragon ladies Giving comedy a go for the first time on Flat3 — "...we were like, let's just do it guys. We didn't even know if we were funny either" Taking a gamble to release Flat3 on YouTube at a time when web series were a new concept How they became political and topical in follow up series Friday Night Bites Next goal is to make a programme for television as "we have finished doing online web series now"
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.