Oscar Kightley is a celebrated writer, actor, director and television presenter. He is a key part of comedy theatre troupe The Naked Samoans, whose members are behind the hit TV animation series bro’Town and the feature film Sione’s Wedding.
Nick Ward is a prolific and award-winning screenwriter. He attracted notice with the hit feature film Stickmen, a Wellington lads-on-the-make tale that potted him the best script gong in the 2001 New Zealand Film and TV Awards. He originated, and then co-wrote, popular recycling relationship comedy Second-Hand Wedding (2008); and wrote the original script for Love Birds (2011). His TV screenwriting credits include Outrageous Fortune, Burying Brian, Nothing Trivial and The Cult. Ward has also worked in front of the camera, co-presenting The Big Art Trip with Douglas Lloyd Jenkins.
Actor and musician Madeleine Sami was starring in acclaimed stage plays and acting in Shortland Street, while still a teen. Since then she has appeared in TV drama The Insiders Guide to Happiness, and big screen hit Sione’s Wedding and its sequel. Sami also created quirky comedy series Super City, in which she played multiple roles.
Geraldine Brophy describes herself as a character actress, but her television and film roles have been very memorable ones. She played the lovable Moira Crombie in Shortland Street for four years, before moving on to roles in Serial Killers, The Insiders Guide to Love, and Outrageous Fortune. One of her favourite roles was playing the control freak bureaucrat Marion in Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby. More recently Brophy danced up a storm on Dancing with the Stars, and had a small but memorable part in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. In 2008, she received a NZ Film and TV Award for best actress for her lead role in the feel-good feature film Second-Hand Wedding.
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.
Teuila Blakely began her TV career presenting C4’s live music show Freestyle, before landing an extended role on Shortland Street. Blakely has shown her versatility by appearing in comedy shows (bro’Town, RadiRadiRah and Funny Girls), dramatic series (This is Not My Life) and films (Sione’s Wedding and Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business). She also made a splash as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
Over a decade ago Robbie Magasiva gave himself two choices - rugby or acting. Since then, Magasiva has made audiences laugh in Skitz, The Semisis and Sione’s Wedding, and has starred in numerous screen dramas including Shortland Street, Cover Story, Jackson’s Wharf, Doves of War and The Tattooist. He made the acting call and hasn’t looked back.
Samoan-born actor Pua Magasiva was inspired by his older brother Robbie Magasiva to get into show business. Best known for playing nurse Vinnie Kruse in Shortland Street, he also had roles in TV productions Power Rangers, Outrageous Fortune and Diplomatic Immunity. He also appeared in films Sione's Wedding (as Sione), 30 Days of Night, and Matariki. Magasiva passed away in May 2019.
A love of English and writing saw the multi-talented Oscar Kightley pursue journalism on his journey to artistic success. He talks about that journey in this extended Funny As interview, including: John Clarke being the first New Zealander that cracked him up The value of touring schools with theatre group Pacific Underground, and the tough audience that is youth The longevity of The Naked Samoans, from their first show in 1998, to a show 20 years later The birth of bro’Town, its success, and plans for a bro'Town movie The "I'd love to see my face up there, like, really big" moment that was movie Sione’s Wedding Making comedy in the new media landscape
Since the 1970s, producer John Barnett has been instrumental in bringing a host of uniquely Kiwi stories to local and international screens, from Fred Dagg to Footrot Flats, from Whale Rider to Sione’s Wedding and What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?, from iconic soap Shortland Street to the wildly successful Westie family drama Outrageous Fortune.