Murray Grindlay first rose to prominence as the lead singer in the 60s blues band The Underdogs. Since then he has written the music for a number of feature films, such as Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors and Broken English; as well as countless TV commercials, including the classics Dear John and the Great Crunchie Train Robbery. Currently Grindlay is producing a web-based kids music show The One Winged-Bee Called Emily.
Grip Annie Frear trained in television production at the ABC in Australia, and then returned to New Zealand and forged a distinguished film career working on such titles as E Tipu E Rea, Desperate Remedies, The Piano, Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows up Another Obelisk, and Peach. Frear was the Grip Co-ordinator for the massive production undertaking that was The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Actor turned producer/director Julian Arahanga made his screen debut at age 11, starring alongside Annie Whittle in short film The Makutu on Mrs Jones. He shot to fame playing novice gang member Nig Heke in landmark movie Once Were Warriors, then went on to act in a number of films including Broken English. Since setting up his own production company Awa Films, Arahanga has directed and produced TV series Songs from the Inside and acclaimed documentary Turangaarere: The John Pohe Story.
Journalist turned media trainer Allison Webber began in television at a time when women were more likely to be making the tea than making programmes. After working alongside names like Brian Edwards and Ian Johnstone, she became part of a new generation of women producers and directors who changed the shape of what went on air, especially with her ground-breaking documentary series Expressions of Sexuality.
In his early career, feature film director Roger Donaldson put himself in risky positions while filming adventure documentaries, including The Adventure World of Sir Edmund Hillary. With his friend Ian Mune, he created Winners & Losers, a landmark series of dramas based on stories by New Zealand writers, which in turn inspired the pair to adapt CK Stead’s novel Smith’s Dream into feature film Sleeping Dogs. The major turning point in Donaldson’s career was his feature Smash Palace, which screened at Cannes and earned rave reviews. Since Smash Palace, Donaldson has thrived in Hollywood, working with notable actors including Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner and Pierce Brosnan. He returned to New Zealand to make the Burt Munro biopic The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins.
TV executive Andrew Shaw has more than three decades of experience in the New Zealand TV industry, from being a teen heart-throb presenter, to directing and producing, to sitting on top of the heap as an executive at TVNZ.
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 office comedy Gliding On, Henwood’s screen roles include villains (The Legend of William Tell) surgeons (Shortland Street), and experts in hypothermia (Such a Stupid Way to Die). Which is not to mention an epic theatre career which has seen him play Stalin, Einstein and Richard Burton, and star in early plays at Wellington theatres Downstage and Circa.
Popular radio and television personality Jennie Goodwin (aka Jennie Forder) became the first woman in the Commonwealth to read a prime time news bulletin. Beginning as a continuity announcer on TV1, Goodwin moved to the fledgling TV2/SPTV channel in 1975 and read the news on the channel’s Two at Seven bulletin until 1982.
James Coleman trained as an actor and appeared in hit film Stickmen, but has made his name as a broadcaster on radio and television. He was a host on TV3 morning show Sunrise, and blended his actor and broadcaster roles in TV satire The Jaquie Brown Diairies.
Tony Williams is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished directors; his career has spanned five decades. Williams began working with noted film producer John O’Shea at Pacific Films in the 1960s and shot two features, and directed nine documentary films. In the 1970s he directed his first feature film Solo, and a series of documentaries including Getting Together, The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the Universe, Take Three Passions, Rally, and Lost in the Garden of the World. Though not a household name himself, Williams has directed some of the most iconic TV commercials in New Zealand. These include: Great Crunchie Train Robbery, Dear John, SPOT and the infamous Bugger commercials.