Pana Hema-Taylor plays one of the petty criminals in hit TV show Westside. His other roles include based on a true story TV movie Resolve, The Brokenwood Mysteries, hit movie Boy, and road drama The Most Fun You Can Have Dying.
Ainsley Gardiner (Te-Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Awa) fell in love with the magic of the big screen while growing up in Whakatane, where you could find her most Fridays at the local cinema catching the latest release. Her first formal foray into film and television came in 1995 when she joined producer Larry Parr at Kahukura Productions, eventually producing low budget feature Kombi Nation (2003) and co-producing the 26-part comedy/drama TV series Love Bites (2002). Following the demise of Kahukura, Gardiner teamed up with Taika Waititi to work on Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars, One Night. Soon after that she established Whenua Films with actor/producer Cliff Curtis. Together the trio struck creative gold with World War II short Tama Tū, Waititi's debut feature Eagle vs Shark and box office hit Boy.
Pana Hema-Taylor is perhaps best known for playing one of the petty criminals in TV hit Westside. He has also acted in TV movie Resolve and movie The Most Fun You Can Have Dying.
Taika Waititi [Te-Whānau-a-Apanui] acted in movies Scarfies and Snakeskin, TV show The Strip (sometimes under the credit Taika Cohen), and appeared on stage as a stand-up comedian. Turning his creative energies towards directing, he made Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night, and Tama Tū, based on the experiences of The Māori Battalion in WWII. He has gone on to great success directing (and sometimes appearing in) feature films.
The late Whai Ngata (Ngāti Porou, Whānau ā Apanui), NZOM, had a long and distinguished career in television, radio and print. Beginning as a Māori reporter for The Auckland Star, Ngata moved on to Radio New Zealand in 1975, then joined TVNZ in 1983. Soon he was reading the news in Māori on Te Karere. Along with Ernie Leonard, he helped set up the Māori Programmes department at TVNZ, and was a key member of the Waka Huia team. In 1994 Ngata became head of the Māori department and was instrumental in creating long-running programmes like Marae and Mai Time.