A Friendly Career (or The Story of the Training and Life of the New Zealand School Dental Nurse) was a promotional film made by the National Film Unit for the Department of Health. The plot waltzes through the idyll of one doe-eyed careerist's sugar-coated journey to a respectable job in the 'murder house', caring for the teeth of the Dominion's children. Focusing on the hard work and 50s fun times of hostel life, with its friendships, matrons, tooth-pulling and en masse doing-of-the-hokey pokey, the end of this careerist road is pitched as one of great satisfaction.
Actor, acting teacher, and artist the late Grant Tilly played cow cockies, assassins, missionaries, and German villains in funny hats. And that’s not even counting his long-running stage career, which included a run of classic Kiwi plays, one of which became acclaimed movie Middle Age Spread.
Richard Driver began his showbiz career in a punk band, and calling himself Johnny Abort. He then moved on to the popular Kiwi rock bands Pop Mechanix and Hip Singles. Driver made his TV presenting debut replacing Karyn Hay on Radio with Pictures and hosted the show for three years. He later collaborated with Hay making music television for several years, ran the New Zealand arm of Screentime, and then formed his own company called Visionary Productions. Driver has made several influential documentaries such as Hokonui Todd, about the life of Garfield Todd, and Love, Speed and Loss, the story of bike racing star Kim Newcombe and his widow Janeen.
Katrina Hobbs is a TV presenter and actor who has had roles in New Zealand, Australia and even Russia. She kicked off her screen career as a teen hero in The Boy from Andromeda and a young wife in the war film Absent Without Leave. Since then she has appeared in a large number of TV shows such as Shortland Street, Marlin Bay, Cover Story and Willy Nilly. As well as acting, she has presented factual shows including More than Sport, Destination Ski New Zealand and Russia Today.
Ngaire Fuata’s cover of classic song ‘To Sir with Love’ went to number one in Aotearoa in 1990. It was followed by album Ngaire. Fuata also has a long history of working for TVNZ’s Māori and Pacific programming unit, including on flagship Pacific show Tagata Pasifika. In 2011 she visited her father's homeland of Rotuma in documentary Salat se Rotuma.
Actor Peter Elliott’s career has spanned theatre, television film and radio. His screen credits include playing Rex on Gloss, Doctor David Kearney on Shortland Street, and lawyer Murray Gibson on TV movie Until Proven Innocent. As well as TV drama, Elliott has fronted and narrated a range of documentary TV series: Captain’s Log, Explorers, Frontier of Dreams and Secret New Zealand.
Carol Hirschfeld attributes some of her career path to her father, “a big newspaper man”. As a sub-editor at Eyewitness News in the late 80s, Hirschfeld was convinced she preferred to work behind the camera, with no interest at all in appearing in front of it. Since then, Hirschfeld has reported for and hosted many primetime television productions including Fair Go, Crimewatch, 3 News and Campbell Live, as well as producing and directing hours of New Zealand television such as Frontline’s Winebox enquiry, Home Truths, A Queen’s Tour and Campbell Live. More recently Hirschfeld has worked in management at Maori Television and Radio New Zealand.
Actress and TV presenter Miriama Smith made her acting debut in cop show Shark in the Park. At 20 she graduated to Shortland Street, playing nurse Awhina Broughton. Since then, Smith has appeared in a raft of TV shows including Mercy Peak, Mataku and Serial Killers. She played lawyer Donna Hall in tele-feature Stolen, was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and a judge on the Prime Television version of New Zealand’s Got Talent.
Sam Neill moved from directing at the National Film Unit, to becoming one of New Zealand's most internationally successful actors. His resume of 60+ features includes lead roles in a number of local movies, from a man alone in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to an unusual reverend in Dean Spanley.
Actor Blair Strang shot to fame in New Zealand playing the likeable ambulance driver Rangi in Shortland Street. After six years, he quit the show and returned to law school. Since then, his acting career has been resurrected playing a range of characters in shows such as Go Girls, Spin Doctors, Doves of War, Orange Roughies and Nothing Trivial.