Ron Cross is a military man through and through. A proud soldier, he feels lucky to have had the experiences that shaped his life. Joining up as a regular Army Cadet, Ron served in both the Malayan conflict and the Vietnam War. From the comedy of preparing for jungle warfare in snow-covered hills around Tekapo, to the tension of being fired on at close range on the roads of Vietnam, Ron’s vivid recollections are captivating. His one regret: that the lesson of how not to have wars has yet to be learned.
This collection celebrates the legendary moments that New Zealanders — huddled around the telly — gawked at, chortled with, and choked on our Choysa over as they played out on our screens. "There's a generation who remember where they were when JFK was shot", but as Paul Casserly asks in his collection primer, "where were you when Thingee's eye popped out?"
The name Phillip Leishman is synonymous with sports broadcasting in New Zealand. Over a four decade career he presented sports news and major events from the Olympics to rugby tests, plus a globally-syndicated golf show. He also branched out into popular quiz shows and entertainment specials (notably Wheel of Fortune). Leishman died on 25 February 2013, after a battle with cancer. He was 61.
Ernie Leonard spent time as a soldier, a railways clerk and public relations officer. His first television job was as an actor on Pukemanu, and he became a household name co-presenting wrestling show On the Mat. In 1986 Leonard became the first head of TVNZ's Māori Programmes Department. When he retired, a search of the TVNZ Archives database yielded 38,000 references to him or programmes he'd been associated with.
Karen Olsen’s work as a meteorologist and weather reporter has seen her stationed on sub-tropical Raoul Island and presenting from the blistering cold of an Antarctic winter. After 21 years reporting the weather on TV One News, often alongside much loved weatherman Jim Hickey, Olsen left TVNZ in November 2015.
This 1968 Looking at New Zealand episode travels to NZ’s third-largest island: Stewart Island/Rakiura. The history of the people who've faced the “raging southerlies” ranges from Norwegian whalers to the 400-odd modern folk drawn there by a self-reliant way of life. Mod-cons (phone, TV) alleviate the isolation, and the post office, store, wharf and pub are hubs. The booming industry is crayfish and cod fishing (an old mariner wisely feeds an albatross); and the arrival of tourists to enjoy the native birds and wildness anticipates future prospects for the island.
Putting on magic and Punch and Judy shows as a child led Michael Woolf to a career as a broadcaster and performer. After joining the NZ Broadcasting Service he became an announcer, presenting TV in Wellington in the 60s and performing the country’s first televised puppet show. As an actor he appeared in Goodbye Pork Pie, and played a villain in Rangi’s Catch.
Actor John Tui grew up in Manurewa, the oldest of eight siblings. After training at Unitec, he got a break on Power Rangers and has since scored regular NZ TV work including recurring roles on Go Girls and Shortland Street. On the big screen he plays father to the main character in 2015's Born to Dance, and was US Navy officer Walter ‘The Beast’ Lynch alongside Rihanna, in Hollywood film Battleship.
Amanda Millar is one of New Zealand's most experienced and awarded television journalists. Millar has reported on many high profile 60 Minutes and 20/20 stories, including stories on former police Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards, 'Parnell Panther' Mark Stephens, and disgraced Christchurch GP Morgan Fahey. In 2018 she directed her debut feature Celia, about social justice advocate Celia Lashlie.
Gareth Farr is recognised as a leading composer of contemporary music in New Zealand. Farr has many personas; composer for screen and stage, percussionist, and percussive drag artiste Lilith LaCroix. In 2006 Farr was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit.