Long-running travel series Intrepid Journeys took Kiwi celebrities (from All Blacks to music legends to ex-Prime Ministers) from the comfort of home to less-travelled paths in varied countries and cultures. The Jam TV series debuted in 2003 on TV One. With its authenticity and fresh, genre-changing take on a travel show (focusing on personal experience rather than objectivity), Intrepid Journeys was a landmark in local factual television. It managed to achieve the rare mix of high ratings and critical acclaim.
Merata Mita’s Patu! is a startling record of the mass civil disobedience that took place throughout New Zealand during the winter of 1981, in protest against a South African rugby tour. Testament to the courage and faith of both the marchers and a large team of filmmakers, the feature-length documentary is a landmark in Aotearoa's film history. It staunchly contradicts claims by author Gordon McLauchlan a couple of years earlier that New Zealanders were "a passionless people".
Raised on a Te Kauwhata farm, presenter Erin Simpson studied musical theatre at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art in Christchurch, and was the mascot for the Crusaders rugby team. Her television debut was as comedic partner to Tamati Coffey in skits for What Now?. Simpson won fame with a generation of Kiwi kids hosting 770 episodes of TV2 afternoon staple The Erin Simpson Show; she did everything from acting in a mini-soap to interviewing stars. In 2018 Simpson began presenting events show Red Carpet New Zealand. She has also produced her own homewares range.
Geoff Dixon began making commercials in the 70s — the decade he launched legendary ad company Silverscreen Productions, whose clients included Cadbury, Toyota, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines. Ranging across New Zealand and beyond, his work includes iconic images of South Island back roads, Barry Crump crashing utes through the bush, and Michael Hurst singing a war cry for the Kiwi bloke.
Craig Little was one of the first local television stars created by the highly successful regional news shows in the 70s and 80s. In 1970, he took over the presenter’s role on Auckland’s This Day but resigned three years later, tired of constant public attention. He also presented Top Town and New Faces, and worked in radio. Little ran his own PR company, and held positions in Auckland local government.
Liz Mitchell has designed for the catwalk, television and Kiwis striding the red carpet at the Oscars. Her screen credits include power-dressing soap Gloss, and Front Lawn film Walkshort. She now masterminds the creation of a range of clothing designs, from high end to Farmers, through fashion label Liz Mitchell. She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005, for services to the fashion industry.
After studies in politics and a stint on England's Daily Express, broadcaster Kate Hawkesby’s screen career began in 1995, with an internship at TVNZ. Over the next decade she reported from Bougainville to the Oscars red carpet. She presented for news bulletin Midday and became the youngest newsreader on the 6pm edition of One News — she was a regular fill-in presenter. In 2002 she hosted Breakfast (with future partner Mike Hosking) and from 2004 fronted late night slot Tonight until 2006, when she went on maternity leave. These days concentrating on parenting, Hawkesby pens a column for Woman's Day.
Sometime actor Taika Waititi has clearly sunk his teeth into directing. His 2005 short film Two Cars, One Night was Oscar-nominated. Second feature Boy (2010) became the most successful Kiwi film released on its home soil — at least until the arrival of Waititi's fourth movie, Barry Crump inspired adventure comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In 2017 Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok became an international hit.