Jane Wrightson: On 25 years of NZ On Air...

Posted on 4 March 2015

Jane Wrightson is the Chief Executive of NZ On Air — the agency tasked with funding local television, digital media, music and radio. She began her career working for TVNZ, before becoming New Zealand's first woman Chief Film Censor. Wrightson started working at NZ On Air as the Television Manager before leaving for a stint as head of the Broadcasting Standards Authority. She returned to NZ On Air in 2007 as CEO.

In this ScreenTalk, Wrightson talks about:

  • Early jobs for state broadcaster TVNZ
  • Being paid to watch movies in her role as Chief Film Censor
  • The three-legged stool: how NZ On Air's unique funding model works
  • Why local programming is at the heart of the agency’s philosophy
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the NZ On Air model
  • The things NZ On Air has done that she is most proud of
  • The success of Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune
  • How changes in the TV landscape - including the internet - have affected NZ On Air
  • How international co-productions could be working better
  • Feeling she has "the best job in the country"

This video was first uploaded on the 4th of March 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

NZ On Air 25th Anniversary logo



nz on air, new zealand on air, television, censorship, global economy, co-productions, funding, international productions, coproductions, local, local programmes, local programming, culture, radio, digital media, digital content, drama, shortland street, shortland st, outrageous fortune, nothing trivial, go girls, internet, music

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Stephen J Campbell - Classic kids TV, comedy, sci-fi fantasy and more...

Posted on 23 February 2015

Stephen J Campbell is a long-time television writer, director and producer who began in TV aimed at younger viewers, including classic series 3:45 LIVE!, and Ice TV. Campbell has also worked on comedy shows including That Comedy Show and Funny Business. In more recent times, he has specialised in creating kidult shows with a sci-fi/fantasy bent, including hits Secret Agent Men and The Amazing Extraordinary Friends. Campbell also worked on Nigel Latta’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Grown Ups.

In this ScreenTalk, Campbell talks about:

  • Feeling confused but awed on his first day as a TVNZ production trainee
  • Crashing the Auckland telephone exchange on live kids show 3:45 LIVE!
  • Innovative production techniques used on Ice TV
  • How comedy shows taught him the craft of television
  • Family being at the heart of the kidult show Secret Agent Men
  • The long road to making The Amazing Extraordinary Friends
  • How star David McPhail insisted on doing his own stunts
  • Changing the format of The Politically Incorrect shows
  • Working with the show’s host Nigel Latta
  • Producing upcoming kidult sci-fi drama Cul De Sac

This video was first uploaded on the 23rd of February 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



stephen j campbell, 3:45 live!, ice tv, comedy, that comedy show, comedy central, sci-fi, secret agent men, the amazing extraordinary friends, the politically incorrect guide, tvnz, kids show, cul de sac, nigel latta, stephen campbell, childrens television, david mcphail

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Kate McDermott: From learning the ropes on Shortland St to creating Step Dave...

Posted on 16 February 2015

Kate McDermott is a scriptwriter whose words have been heard in a long list of popular TV comedies and dramas. She began as a writer on Shortland Street, and later became a story-liner for the soap. McDermott then moved on to writing for series like Being Eve, Mercy Peak, Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune. In 2014, McDermott’s own creation Step Dave became a popular series for TVNZ. Series two is now in production.

In this ScreenTalk, McDermott talks about:

  • Making a mess of her first Shortland Street script
  • Eventually becoming a story-liner on the show
  • Bringing a little Shakespeare to hit kids show Being Eve
  • Binge-watching episodes of Mercy Peak in order to write for the show
  • Loving the freedom to write swear words in Outrageous Fortune scripts
  • Becoming a showrunner for Go Girls
  • Enjoying working on the comedy drama Nothing Trivial
  • Initially declining a job writing for drama The Blue Rose
  • Having to work at a fast pace creating season one of Step Dave

This video was first uploaded on the 16th of February 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



kate mcdermott, shortland street, being eve, mercy peak, go girls, outrageous fortune, step dave, soap, tvnz, writing, shakespeare, comedy, drama, swearing, swear words, nothing trivial, the blue rose, scriptwriting

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Mia Blake: Learning from every role she plays...

Posted on 2 February 2015

Actor Mia Blake made her screen debut in ensemble comedy film Hopeless, which then became the TV series Lovebites. In 2006 Blake won an NZ Screen Award for her role in Toa Fraser film No. 2 and then starred in horror movie The Tattooist. Blake received another award nomination for playing a woman giving birth in short film This is Her. Blake has gone on to act in The Millen Baird Show, Auckland Daze and Golden.  

In this ScreenTalk, Blake talks about:

  • Being terrified as a newbie on the set of Hopeless
  • Learning the craft of acting on TV series Lovebites
  • Loving the rehearsal process for the film No. 2
  • How director Toa Fraser listened to her input on set
  • Working with American actor Jason Behr on horror film The Tattooist
  • Her emotional reaction to giving birth in This is Her
  • Dealing with being pregnant while acting in short film Isoceles
  • Having a huge amount of fun on The Millen Baird Show
  • Being proud of appearing in the TV drama Harry
  • Why she was thrilled at having a ‘tiny part’ on Auckland Daze
  • Feeling her career is a combination of all the things she loves

This video was first uploaded on the 2nd of February 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



mia blake, actor, hopeless, no. 2, the tattooist, this is her, auckland daze, lovebites, rehearsal, toa fraser, jason behr, isoceles, harry, the millen baird show, tv, film, nz screen award, horror film, love bites, no 2, number 2, naming number two, naming no 2, naming no. 2, acting

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Peter Williams: Veteran sportscaster and newsreader...

Posted on 20 January 2015

Peter Williams has had a long and distinguished career as a sports broadcaster and newsreader. He began his broadcasting career in radio while still in his teens, then joined TVNZ as a sports reporter and commentator in 1979. He went on to present major events such as the Olympic Games and the Rugby World Cup. Since the 90s Williams has read the news on TV ONE’s Breakfast, and on primetime weekend bulletins.

In this ScreenTalk, Williams talks about:

  • Being very nervous for his first live studio broadcast
  • The stresses of putting together weekend show One World of Sport
  • Interviewing Kiri Te Kanawa for A New Zealand Night at Covent Garden
  • The unsophisticated yet ground-breaking coverage of the 1987 Rugby World Cup
  • Being involved in sports quiz show A Question of Sport
  • Preferring the early morning shift of reading the news on Breakfast
  • Working with the mercurial broadcaster Paul Henry
  • The daily grind of covering the Commonwealth and Olympic games
  • Getting the tone right when hosting the Pike River Remembrance
  • Seeing himself as a competent but not exceptional broadcaster

This video was first uploaded on the 20th of January 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



peter williams, broadcaster, tvnz, sports, rugby world cup, tv one, breakfast, paul henry, commonwealth, olympic games, pike river remembrance, 1987, kiri te kanawa, one world of sport, studio, weekend bulletins

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Lisa Harrow: A home-grown international actress...

Posted on 9 January 2015

Lisa Harrow left New Zealand in the 1960s to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England – it was this move that cemented her love of theatre and later enabled her to build an international screen career. She has visited New Zealand periodically and starred in locally-shot movies Other Halves and Shaker Run. Nowadays Harrow lives in the US and is involved in environmental campaigning. Her most recent Kiwi project was a role as the grandmother in TV2’s Step Dave.

In this ScreenTalk, Harrow talks about:

  • Her starring role in acclaimed BBC series Nancy Astor
  • How the lead in Other Halves enabled her to come back to New Zealand
  • Doing all sorts of dangerous stunts for car chase movie Shaker Run
  • Hating working with American actor Cliff Robertson
  • Enjoying working on Australian film The Last Days of Chez Nous
  • Making ‘ludicrous’ Omen movie The Final Conflict with Sam Neill
  • Filming From a Far Country under the threat of a Russian invasion
  • Loving being the grandmother in TV's Step Dave
  • Her dream that a director will cast her as a feisty old woman in a New Zealand film

This video was first uploaded on the 9th of January 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



lisa harrow, shaker run, step dave, bbc, other halves, the last days of chez nous, the final conflict, film, royal academy of dramatic arts, england, cliff robertson, hollywood, the man from a far country

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Judy Bailey: Newsreader extraordinaire...

Posted on 22 December 2014

Judy Bailey is sometimes referred to as the 'Mother of the Nation' thanks to 17 years as newsreader on TV One’s 6pm news bulletin. She began as a TV/radio reporter for the NZBC, before co-hosting the regional magazine show Top Half with John Hawkesby. In 1986 Bailey began her newsreading career on the Network News with Neil Billington, and a year later partnered with Richard Long. In 2004 she took on the role solo before leaving TVNZ a year later. In subsequent years Bailey has hosted a number of other shows, including the Māori Television Anzac Day Coverage and her travel show Judy Bailey’s Australia.

In this ScreenTalk, Bailey talks about:

  • Creating stories for both TV and radio during her early days at NZBC news
  • Having to create her own sound effects for a story
  • Feeling blessed working with John Hawkesby on Top Half
  • The challenges of live television when things went wrong
  • Coping with 24 hours of live television on Telethon
  • Being hated for replacing Philip Sherry as newsreader on One News
  • Having an amazing on air partnership with Richard Long
  • The embarrassment of being parodied by comedian Rima Te Wiata
  • The stress of having to read the news on her own
  • Being forced out of her role at TVNZ 
  • Presenting Māori Television’s coverage of ANZAC Day
  • Enjoying hosting travel show Judy Bailey’s Australia
  • Being grateful for all she has learned from people in her career

This video was first uploaded on the 22nd of December 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



judy bailey, mother of the nation, tv one, tv, network news, newsreader, presenter, john hawkesby, richard long, anzac day, nzbc, one news, judy bailey’s australia, tvnz, rima te wiata, top half, philip sherry, phillip sherry, telethon, parody, satire, impersonation, travel, maori television, māori television, news reader, presenting

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Jennie Goodwin: Pioneering female broadcaster...

Posted on 15 December 2014

Popular radio and television personality Jennie Goodwin (aka Jennie Forder) became the first woman in the Commonwealth to read a primetime news bulletin. Beginning as a continuity announcer on TV1, Goodwin moved to the fledgling TV2/SPTV channel in 1975 and read the news on the channel’s Two at Seven bulletin until 1982.

In this ScreenTalk, Goodwin talks about:

  • How having a photographic memory helped in her pre-autocue continuity announcing days
  • Being trained to annunciate perfectly in BBC style
  • Having to wear heavy theatrical makeup in the days of black and white
  • Being used as model for the change over to colour television
  • The excitement and challenge of reading the news on the new TV2
  • Not letting the fact she was the first woman newsreader in the Commonwealth go to her head
  • Having to remain detached from the emotion of the Erebus disaster when reading news about it
  • The reason she left TVNZ twice
  • Newsreading becoming more relaxed in the modern era
  • The joy of returning to read the news on Breakfast

This video was first uploaded on the 15th of December 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



jennie goodwin, tv1, broadcaster, two at seven, news, tvnz, presenter, network news, newsreader, tv2, radio, jennie forder, jenny goodwin, jennie forder nee goodwin, erebus, newsreading, news reader, pronunciation, flight 901

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Shaun Brown: TV newsman turned network boss...

Posted on 8 December 2014

Shaun Brown’s distinguished television career spans 45 years, beginning as a reporter with the NZBC. In his early days as a journalist, he covered a number of historic stories including the nuclear bomb tests on Mururoa Atoll, and the funeral of New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Brown moved from reporting to producing, followed by executive roles as the Head of TVNZ News and Current Affairs and then the boss of TV ONE. He then moved to Australia to head up the Special Broadcasting Service. 

In this ScreenTalk, Brown talks about:

  • The challenges of rather basic technology in the early days of NZBC news
  • Creating global coverage of the Mururoa Atoll bomb tests
  • Causing a ruckus by changing the presentation team on Fair Go
  • The rationale behind creating the late news show Eyewitness News
  • Coordinating the response to the competition from fledgling TV3, while running TVNZ News and Current Affairs
  • Starting the Holmes show
  • Controversially introducing advertising into programmes as head of SBS Australia
  • Being disappointed at the lack of true public broadcasting in New Zealand

This video was first uploaded on the 8th of December 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.




shaun brown, news, nzbc, fair go, holmes, current affairs, tv one, eyewitness news, sbs australia

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Cliff Curtis: On his classic NZ movie roles...

Posted on 24 November 2014

From playing a human mule in The Piano, a dandy in Desperate Remedies and a hated villain in Once Were Warriors, actor Cliff Curtis has appeared in many of New Zealand’s most significant films. His most recent local role is as Genesis Potini in the acclaimed Dark Horse. Curtis has also forged a successful international acting career; and moved into working as a producer, because of his desire to work on Māori stories.

In this ScreenTalk, Curtis talks about:

  • The pros and cons of carrying a musical instrument in The Piano 
  • Being challenged by the sexuality of his character in Desperate Remedies
  • Being unsure if he wanted the film Once Were Warriors to be made
  • Detaching himself from the role of Bully in the movie
  • Loving the romance of the film Whale Rider
  • The “torturous” path of River Queen 
  • How The Dark Horse is the defining moment of his career
  • Hating having to gain weight for the role
  • The reason he became a film producer

This video was first uploaded on the 24th of November 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



cliff curtis, once were warriors, river queen, the dark horse, actor, desperate remedies, the piano, jane campion, vincent ward, whale rider, anna paquin, james naper robertson, tom hern

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