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, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy.
Rawiri Paratene (Ngā Puhi) was the first Māori student to graduate from the New Zealand Drama School, and he has since made an indelible mark on the NZ screenscape. Paratene’s small screen career began with a small part on The Governor, and playing Koro in 70s sitcom Joe and Koro. Paratene then hosted daily pre-school show Play School. Paratene is also an acclaimed writer whose credits include the TV dramas Erua and Dead Certs. On the big screen, Paratene has played the role of reformed gang member Mulla in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?; but it was his role as Koro in Whale Rider that garnered him international recognition.
Acclaimed Director of Photography Leon Narbey has had a hand in many of New Zealand’s best known films. He directed the feature film Illustrious Energy in 1987, and has been the DOP on other major film projects such as Desperate Remedies; The Price of Milk; and the smash hit Whale Rider. More recent films include the Topp Twins doco Untouchable Girls and Samoan language feature The Orator.
Kiwi production designer Grant Major has worked on many of New Zealand’s biggest films such as An Angel At My Table, Heavenly Creatures, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Whale Rider, and King Kong. In 2004, Major won an Academy Award for his design work on The Return of the King.
Rachel House has proven herself in both drama (Whale Rider) and comedy (Hunt for the Wilderpeople).
From playing a human mule in The Piano, a dandy in Desperate Remedies and the hated Uncle Bully in Once Were Warriors, actor Cliff Curtis has appeared in a number of classic Kiwi movies. Curtis won acclaim and awards after starring as troubled chess champ Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse. He has also forged a busy international acting career, and moved into work as a producer, out of a desire to make Māori stories.
Nigel Latta is a clinical psychologist and popular TV presenter who has made a range of television shows exploring the human condition. His first foray into television was series Beyond the Darklands, which explored some of New Zealand’s worst crimes and the people behind them. He then hosted three series of Politically Incorrect Guides, which variously covered parenting, teenagers and grown-ups. His documentaries have taken him to Antarctica, up in helicopters, and led him to blow up various objects.
Director Niki Caro has made movies in East Coast townships, French vineyards, and Minnesota coal mines. Although feature films Memory and Desire and the breakthrough hit Whale Rider made Caro’s international name, her early career was also rich, and much of it can be sampled on NZ On Screen.
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.
Tammy Davis (Ngāti Rangi, Atihaunui a Paparangi) grew up in Raetihi, and studied acting at Northland Polytechnic before landing his first major role (alongside fellow graduate Clint Eruera) as Mookie in the feature film What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? Following supporting roles in Whale Rider, and TV dramas Jacksons Wharf, The Market and Mataku, Davis starred in macabre feature Black Sheep, and Taika Waititi short film Tama Tū, before securing the role of Munter in long-running TV series Outrageous Fortune. Davis won Best Performance by a Supporting Actor at the 2008 Qantas Film and Television Awards for his role as Munter.