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.
Jared Turner is the familiar face telling us how to conserve power in the Energy Spot commercials. Though born in New Zealand, Turner began his screen career on Aussie soap All Saints, before crossing the Tasman for 2004 film Fracture. Since then he has appeared in hit Kiwi dramas The Almighty Johnsons, Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune.
Don Reynolds is a sound operator turned film producer who has had a big impact on the New Zealand film industry. He was a sound recorder/mixer on many of our classic films of the 1980s and went on to produce movies such as The Quiet Earth, Sylvia, Mr Wrong, and River Queen. Reynolds was also one of the main forces behind the setting up of long-running TV soap Shortland Street.
Shaun Brown’s distinguished television career spans 45 years, beginning as a reporter with the NZBC. In his early days as a journalist, he covered a number of historic stories including the nuclear bomb tests on Mururoa Atoll, and the funeral of New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Brown moved from reporting to producing, followed by executive roles as the Head of TVNZ News and Current Affairs and then the boss of TV ONE. He then moved to Australia to head up the Special Broadcasting Service.
A generation of Kiwi kids grew up watching Jason Gunn on television. At the same time Gunn grew up on television himself. Beginning in children’s TV, Gunn hosted Jase TV, The Son of a Gunn Show, After School, and What Now? Through many of these shows his co-star was a hugely popular life size puppet named Thingee. Gunn moved on to other programmes such as Young Entertainers and Small Talk. In recent years Gunn has starred in a host of top-rating primetime entertainment and game shows including Wheel of Fortune, The Rich List and Dancing with the Stars.
The Almighty Johnsons is a fantasy/comedy series that screened on New Zealand television over three series from 2011 to 2013. The show is about a family of brothers who are descended from Norse gods, desperately trying to restore their powers. While not a huge ratings success in New Zealand, the series has won a cult following in a number of countries.
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.
Actor Phillip Gordon began his television acting career playing bad boy Hugh Clifford on the long-running soap Close to Home. He then played small roles in many New Zealand films, before winning the lead role in the TV series Inside Straight. He played a conman in the hit film Came a Hot Friday, then returned to television in the kidult show Terry and the Gunrunners. More recently he has appeared on television in Shortland Street and Street Legal, and on film in The Returning.
The globetrotting Sandy Houston began her career in animation and visual effects, after she left New Zealand for London. In the 90s she joined powerhouse American effects company ILM and Walt Disney Pictures, then Weta Digital in 2003. En route, she worked on a number of landmark films in modern visual effects, including Jurassic Park, the Oscar-winning Avatar, and Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong.
Versatile director Mike Smith has made an enormous amount of New Zealand drama. Highlights of his lengthy television CV include Radio Waves, Duggan, Serial Killers, The Almighty Johnsons, Nothing Trivial, tele-movie Siege and docu-drama Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. Smith also had a big hand in creating Heroes (80s pop band on-the-make show), yokels comedy Willy Nilly, children’s drama The Lost Children and 2013 comedy Sunny Skies. He was also one of the key players in the launch of Outrageous Fortune.