Stage and screen veteran Rima Te Wiata has showcased her talents as an actor (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), impersonator (More Issues), and singer (Little Shop of Horrors) — often all at the same time. In 2017 Te Wiata was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit, for her work on film and television.
Rima Te Wiata created a name for herself impersonating famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Te Wiata has acted in everything from Australian soap Sons and Daughters to movie Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Rima Te Wiata won fame with her impersonations of famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Her most famous parody was of newsreader Judy Bailey. Te Wiata is also a successful dramatic actor, having appeared in Shark in the Park and Shortland Street. Her film credits include Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Rima Te Wiata has impersonated Judy Bailey, sung ridiculous birthday songs in a hit Taika Waititi movie, and done her share of dramatic acting too.
The Grand Final of this 1996 musical talent quest series Showcase was hosted by Ian Fraser. The nine finalists perform songs from Mozart on guitar, to 'Everything’s Gonna Be Alright'. The opening act is Akustik Fungi: Jason Kerrison, one half of the duo, would later find fame as singer for chart-topping band Opshop, and return the favour as a judge on New Zealand’s Got Talent. The Showcase judges are Sir Howard Morrison, actor Rima Te Wiata, Dame Malvina Major (who performs) and Eddie Rayner (who got his break on TV talent show New Faces, while part of Split Enz).
From 1996 to 1998 broadcaster Ian Fraser took time out from hosting current affairs, to MC this popular musical talent quest (Fraser, a trained pianist, also tinkled the ivories himself during the series). There were two finals: one assessed by studio judges, and one from viewers' votes. The performers ranged from covers bands to opera singers, from country and western to soul. Future Opshop members Jason Kerrison and Shay Muddle were judged runners-up in 1996 (as Akustik Fungi). Other contestants included Lisa Tomlins, opera tenor Shaun Dixon and actor Stig Eldred.
Ventriloquist David Strassman has appeared on talk shows and TV specials in Aotearoa, Australia, the United Kingdom and his native United States. Strassman's first TV series debuted in Australia in 1998; the next year Strassman played on British network ITV. The basic formula of a chat show hosted by a man and a shameless puppet was then carried over to New Zealand. Strassman's alter egos include the irascible Chuck Wood and the cuddly Ted E Bare. Among his local guests were Kiwi TV personalities (Mike King, Robyn Malcolm) and the occasional musician and politician.
TV3 series Outrageous Fortune had six memorable seasons. Award-winning prequel Westside takes the West family back to where it all began — to legendary safecracker Ted West (David de Lautour), and his fiery wife Rita (Antonia Prebble from Outrageous). Each episode of series one is set in a particular year of the 1970s. Season two moves to the 1981 Springbok Tour; the third, set in 1982, introduced a teen Cheryl West. Combining romance, crime and West family folklore with real life events, Westside was created by James Griffin and Rachel Lang, the duo behind the original.
This Town is a quirky comedy awash with well-known Kiwi actors. Director David White ends up on-screen, as well as calling the shots for his first fictional feature. White plays Sean, who gets caught up in romance and suspicion in a small town, where an obsessed ex-cop turned petting zoo owner (Robyn Malcolm) is convinced Sean should be in jail for murder. The cast also includes Rima Te Wiata, Jim Moriarty, Loren Taylor and newcomer Alice May Connolly. This Town was shot on White's home turf of Hawke's Bay. White has previously directed several documentaries (Meat, I Kill).
The Breaker Upperers is the tale of two women whose business is ending other people's relationships. Leading both the cast and the filmmakers are Madeleine Sami (Super City) and Jackie van Beek (What We Do in the Shadows). Sami's character finds herself falling for a teen (James Rolleston) who needs to dump his girlfriend. The film began winning acclaim after debuting at US festival South by Southwest, in March 2018. It had a successful New Zealand cinema release, and was purchased for screening by Netflix. The impressive cast includes Rima Te Wiata and Rose Matafeo.