In his matter-of-fact way, James Murray reflects on some of the horrors of the War in the Pacific. Joining the New Zealand Navy at 17, Murray found himself aboard an American destroyer, watching the first atomic bomb explode above Hiroshima. “We thought they’d blown up Japan,” he says. Earlier, aboard HMNZS Gambia, he’d watched Japanese kamikaze planes attempting to sink the aircraft carriers his ship was trying to protect. Later he was among the first to land on the Japanese mainland, helping take control of the Yokosuka Naval Base.
Murray Newey produced New Zealand's first horror film - Death Warmed Up, and went on to win international investment in four Kiwi-made features: Moonrise, Never Say Die, teen tale Bonjour Timothy and award-winner The Whole of the Moon.
Murray Reece has been the director at a number of key turning points in New Zealand's television history: from the debut of our first drama series (Pukemanu), to the first telemovie (The God Boy), to the episode of Country Calendar where Fred Dagg first showed us around the farm.
Composer and keyboardist Murray McNabb — who died 9 June 2013 — stood “at the forefront of NZ jazz” (Amplifier.co.nz) for over four decades. In the 90s McNabb paired with Murray Grindlay to compose for the screen, and work on many commercials. The results included the iconic soundtrack for Once Were Warriors, the moody Broken English score, TV bodice-ripper Greenstone, and an unreleased soundtrack for What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
Actor/director Murray Keane played a 60s teen in TV's Peppermint Twist, multiple roles in sketch show Away Laughing, a soldier in Chunuk Bair, and a zombie victim in Braindead. In the 90s he moved into directing, with short films and episodes of Shortland Street. Keane has since helmed multiple episodes of Outrageous Fortune and The Almighty Johnsons, and co-created cross-cultural car drama Ride with the Devil. He was nominated at the 2006 NZ Screen Awards for police show Interrogation.
The consummate all-rounder, Murray Wood began arranging and performing music for television in the 1970s. Later he founded computer sales company MagnumMac, and spent seven years as managing director of Canterbury Television. Wood died in the collapse of the CTV building, in the earthquake of February 22 2011.
Cameraman Murray Milne often finds himself working on jobs that involve swimming or hanging from helicopters. After starting on commercials, Milne worked with director Richard Riddiford, filming 80s road movie romance Arriving Tuesday, and Zilch! Following acclaimed shorts with Costa Botes, Milne did impressive work for Peter Jackson on Meet the Feebles and zombie epic Braindead. Since then Milne's work has mixed TV with aerial and underwater photography.
Since first winning fame as lead singer of 60s blues band The Underdogs, Murray Grindlay has gone on to apply his musical talents as a composer for feature films (Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors), veteran jingle-writer (including the classic Crunchie train robbery commercial), and producer (hit single 'Sailing Away', Goldenhorse's Out of the Moon).
Great adverts are strange things: mini works of magic, with the power to make viewers smile, cry, and even buy. Kiwi directors have shown such a knack for making them, they've been invited to do so across the globe. But this collection is about local favourites; dogs on skateboards, choc bar robberies, ghost chips. NZ On Screen's Irene Gardiner backgrounds the top 10 here.
Murray Grindlay first rose to prominence as the lead singer in the 60s blues band The Underdogs. Since then he has written the music for a number of feature films, such as Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors and Broken English; as well as countless TV commercials, including the classics Dear John and the Great Crunchie Train Robbery. Currently Grindlay is producing a web-based kids music show The One Winged-Bee Called Emily.