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Oscar Kightley

Actor, Writer

PI Kiwi Oscar Kightley is a writer, actor, presenter and director. After co-creating The Naked Samoans, he worked with the comedy troupe on five seasons of hit series bro’Town, NZ's first animated show to play in prime-time. Kightley has also worked with the Samoans as an actor and writer in hit feature Sione’s Wedding and its 2012 sequel. In 2013 he took on a serious role, starring as the detective in TV series Harry.

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Interview

Oscar Kightley: On bro'Town, Sione's Wedding, and more...

Interview - Clare O'Leary. Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann

Oscar Kightley is a celebrated writer, actor, director and television presenter. He is a key part of comedy theatre troupe The Naked Samoans, whose members are behind the hit TV animation series bro’Town and the feature film Sione’s Wedding.

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I Am TV - Series Five, Final Episode

Television, 2012 (Full Length Episode)

The final episode of this long-running TVNZ show for Māori youth comes from a BBQ party atop Auckland's TVNZ HQ. When I AM TV began in 2008 it was all about Bebo. Five years later it’s about Bieber (the singer #tautokos the show), Skux and Twitter, and the hashtag #KeepingItReo. Hosts Kimo Houltham and Chey Milne review the year’s highlights: from Koroneihana to a boil up with Katchafire; from dance crews to hunting for Jeff da Māori, with Liam Messam and The Waikato Chiefs; from a Samoan holiday (with co-presenter Taupunakohe Tocker), to defining mana in 2012.

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Series

Rocked the Nation

Television, 2008–2011

Rocked the Nation launched in 2008 with six one hour-long shows. Company Satellite Media ransacked the archives and interviewed protagonists to survey 100 key moments in New Zealand music history: smash hits, global breakouts, riots, sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, and TV talent shows. Hosted by Karyn Hay, the series screened on C4 during NZ Music Month, and was the channel’s highest-rating series to that date. Follow-up series counted down 100 New Zealand Pop Culture Stories (2009, hosted by Rhys Darby) and 100 New Zealand Sporting Moments (2011, fronted by Dai Henwood). 

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Series

LIFE (Life in the Fridge Exists)

Television, 1989–1991

Life in the Fridge Exists was a late 80s/early 90s teen magazine show that ranged from celebrity interviews to profiles of young artists and athletes, and health education (presented by Dr Watt, aka radio presenter Grant Kereama). The Christchurch-based show saw early appearances by comedian/actor Oscar Kightley (in his screen debut), Amazing Race presenter Phil Keoghan, future Lotto host Hilary Timmins, and broadcasters Kerre McIvor (née Woodham) and Bernadine Oliver-Kerby. Life in the Fridge Exists was also the name of a short-lived Wellington band.

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Harry - This is Personal (First Episode)

Television, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

This first episode of this 2013 crime drama begins with a meth-fuelled bank heist gone very wrong. Harry is a Samoan-Kiwi detective (played by Oscar Kightley, a million miles away from Morningside) pursuing justice in South Auckland. Sam Neill, in his first role on a Kiwi TV series, plays Harry’s detective buddy. Off the case, Harry struggles with his teen daughter in the wake of his wife’s suicide. The Chris Dudman-directed series screened for a season on TV3. Broadcaster John Campbell tweeted: “Not remotely suitable for kids. But nor are many excellent things.”

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Chinks, Coconuts and Curry-munchers

Television, 2002 (Full Length)

This 2002 documentary explores contemporary Aotearoa from the perspective of Kiwis from a range of different (non-Māori, non-Pākehā) ethnic backgrounds. These citizens speak frankly about their experience of assimilation and stereotyping in a supposedly multicultural society, where ethnic food is beloved — but not ethnic difference — and where jokes and racism blur. Directed by Libby Hakaraia, the documentary screened on TV3 as part of doco slot Inside New Zealand. It was a follow up to 2000's The Truth about Māori, which looked at identity from a Māori perspective.

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The Breaker Upperers

Film, 2018 (Trailer)

Packed with Kiwi comedy talent, The Breaker Upperers is the tale of two women whose business is ending other people's relationships. Leading both the cast and the filmmaking are Madeleine Sami (Super City) and Jackie van Beek (who played a wannabe vampire in What We Do in the Shadows). Sami's character finds herself falling for a teenager (James Rolleston) who needs help with dumping his girlfriend. The film debuts at renowned USA festival South By Southwest in March 2018; Kiwi cinemas get it in May. The cast includes Oscar Kightley and Funny Girl Rose Matafeo.

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Not Set in Stone

Film, 2014 (Full Length)

In 2013 actor/director Peter Tait invited a team of actors to an Auckland bar to perform a read-through of a script, involving strange aquatic substances and opportunistic robbers. His plan: a film within a film where thespians and real-life bar owners play versions of themselves. At its heart, Not Set in Stone celebrates the actors — their talent, willingness to send themselves up, and generosity towards low budget projects like this one. The in-jokes include screen veteran Greg Johnson as a wannabe actor, and a final curtain cameo by Jacinda Ardern and Oscar Kightley.

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The Living Room - Series One, Episode Eight

Television, 2002 (Full Length Episode)

Brought to you from "the Samoan Embassy" (in reality, the Naked Samoans' motel room) this episode of The Living Room follows the comedic theatre troupe during their time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Then it retreats to the wild west coast of the South Island where acclaimed cinematographer Alun Bollinger reflects on his diverse life and career. Also featured is the first 'proper' exhibition of Illicit artists on K' Road, (featuring the late Martin Emond) and a visit to small town Mangaweka, setting for Michael Reihana's surrealist short film Little Gold Cowboy.