Production manager Brian Walden proved a near unstoppable force during the mid 70s dawn of Kiwi TV drama. Known as 'the Sarge' to those who worked with him, Walden was on location to bring in a slew of classic dramas, on time and budget: among them were Hunter’s Gold, The Mackenzie Affair, Gather Your Dreams, Mortimer's Patch and legal classic Hanlon. In the mid 80s he left TVNZ to go freelance, and helped produce everything from vampire movie Moonrise to TV's The New Adventures of Black Beauty.
Veteran actor Bruce Allpress has had a long career in theatre, film and television. His television credits include Close to Home, Hanlon, Shark in the Park, Duggan, The Cult, and the lead role in the series Jocko. His many film appearances include The Piano, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Rest for the Wicked.
Robert Rakete is a popular TV and radio host, and actor. His first acting role was on the kidult show Sea Urchins, which was followed by roles in Mortimer’s Patch and Loose Enz: The Protesters. Rakete has hosted or appeared in a range of TV shows, from music programmes CV and RTR, to Clash of the Codes and What Now? In 2014 he was invited to join the Australian children’s group The Wiggles for some guest appearances.
Children's adventure series Gather Your Dreams follows Kitty, a teenager who dreams of stardom while travelling with her family's vaudeville troupe in Depression-era 1930s New Zealand. The troupe's impresario (and Kitty’s father) was played by Mortimer’s Patch star Terence Cooper. Mostly shot in the Coromandel, the half hour 13-part series was one of a run of kidult dramas made in the late 70s by South Pacific Television. Like its predecessor — colonial scamp saga Hunter's Gold — it had international sales success. Dreams was helmed by Hunter's Gold director Tom Parkinson.
A big smoke cousin to Mortimer's Patch, Shark in the Park was New Zealand's first urban cop show. Devised by Graeme Tetley (Ruby and Rata), it portrayed a unit policing inner city Wellington, under the guidance of Inspector Brian 'Sharkie' Finn (Jeffrey Thomas). With its focus on the working lives of the officers, the show followed the character-based storytelling of overseas programmes like The Bill and Hill Street Blues. The first season marked one of the last in-house productions for TVNZ's drama department. The next two series were made independently by The Gibson Group.
Veteran cameraman Richard S Long has captured images everywhere from Singapore to the Southern Alps. Long's career began by shooting news for TVNZ in the mid 1970s. He then moved on to filming lifestyle and drama programmes like Heroes and Holiday. Long also did extended time directing commercials in Asia, before returning home and writing and directing his first feature Not for Children.
With more than 30 years in the television industry under his belt, veteran drama producer and director Chris Bailey has made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s screen heritage. His many TV credits include Gloss, Mortimer’s Patch, Under the Mountain, Burying Brian, Marlin Bay, City Life, and Greenstone. He was also the first executive producer on Shortland Street. Bailey was a co-founder of production company ScreenWorks which made the popular legal drama Street Legal.
The Fire-Raiser pits a quartet of smalltown World War I era school kids against a mysterious figure with fire on the brain. Inspired partly by a real-life Nelson arsonist, the five-part gothic adventure was created for television by author Maurice Gee. Peter Hayden plays the town’s unconventional teacher ‘Clippy’ Hedges, while the lead role went to Royal NZ Ballet star Jon Trimmer. The Fire-Raiser won four Listener TV awards, including best overall drama and best writer. Gee’s accompanying novel was published both here and overseas. He writes about the show's birth here.
Tom Finlayson has worked in television in almost every capacity: as a reporter and producer in the cauldron of daily news, developing and producing classic drama shows (Under the Mountain, Mortimer's Patch) and movies, directing documentaries (The Party's Over) — as well as commissioning programmes, during a three year stint as TVNZ’s Director of Production.
An outstanding project designer, Logan Brewer first made his mark on television with ambitious period drama Hunter’s Gold. In the early 80s he went freelance, producing cop show Mortimer’s Patch and children’s drama Terry and the Gunrunners. His major project work included opening and closing ceremonies for the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and NZ pavilions at Expos in Brisbane and Seville. Brewer passed away in August 2015.