The odd couple is a longtime comic staple. In the 1970s Yorkshire emigre Craig Harrison turned the tale of a Māori and a Yorkshireman into novel Ground Level, a radio play, and this ground-breaking TV series. Joe (Stephen Gledhill) is the nervy, university-educated librarian; his flatmate is Koro (Rawiri Paratene) who works in a fish and chip shop. Running for two series, the popular chalk’n’cheese sitcom was a rare comedy amongst a flowering of bicultural TV stories (The Governor, Epidemic). Harrison’s novel The Quiet Earth later inspired a classic film.
Luke Sharpe’s video for the 2008 number one hit sets out to educate audiences about the Nesian style: replete with graffiti hibiscus, hawaiian shirts ... and hot teacher. The band is shot in front of a green screen, with totems uniting their central Auckland upbringing with their ancestral Polynesian past shown behind them. From baggy jeans to greenstone pendants, corned beef to fish’n’chips, the references nod to the South Pacific influences on the Mystik sound: “Just keep it fresh no matter where you be.” It won Best Hip Hop Video at the 2008 Juice TV Awards.
Self-discipline has never been a problem for Joe Musaphia — he's written over 140 radio plays and dozens of full-length stage plays since 1960. His screen credits include pioneering Kiwi sketch show In View of the Circumstances, New Zealand's first musical Don't Let it Get You, sitcom Between the Lines and hosting childrens’ show Joe’s World. Musaphia has also worked as a columnist, cartoonist and actor.
Tongan-Kiwi comedian Josh Thomson won attention after starring in 48 Hour short films Only Son and Brown Peril. Along with acting (Hounds) and appearances on comedy show 7 Days, Thomson is also an editor and director. In 2017 he starred in movie Gary of the Pacific, as a hapless real estate agent turned Pacific Island chief. The same year, he joined Three's primetime news show The Project.
Chris Bailey has made key creative contributions to a host of significant Kiwi television dramas, from sci fi classic Under the Mountain to Nothing Trivial. In 1998, Bailey, along with producer Chris Hampson and writer Greg McGee, founded production company ScreenWorks. These days he is managing director of South Pacific Pictures.
Greg McGee's first play Foreskin's Lament (1980) is seen as a watershed moment in the maturing of a distinctly Kiwi theatre. Since then McGee has demonstrated (with tele-movie Old Scores) that rugby can be the stuff of comedy as well as critique. He has also created or co-created a run of television dramas - including long-running law show Street Legal - many of them awardwinners.
Should Clive Sowry ever choose to enter Mastermind, his knowledge of the National Film Unit will give his competitors a definite run for their money. Sowry worked at the government filmmaking organisation for 14 years, including nine as the NFU's archivist. He went on to undertake a programme that saved 100s of local films, and has written often about filmmaking in New Zealand — including for NZ On Screen.
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.
Starring one cow and two elderly guitarists, Michael Bennett's first short film Cow was invited to screen at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Since then he has written and/or directed a wide range of projects, from children's television (Kaitangata Twitch) to award-winning shows about Māori architecture (Whare Māori). His feature film work includes ensemble feature Matariki, and the script for Cliff Curtis comedy Jubilee.