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Highlighting The Unheralded Success Stories of 2023 NZ TV Awards

07 Dec 2023

The marquee names have been up in lights since the 2023 NZ Television Awards were announced - but there are plenty more who soaked up the acknowledgement of their incredible talents behind the scenes.

The headlines have honed in on reality TV stars, news and current affairs hosts and red-carpet looks - but there is so much more to the New Zealand Television Awards.

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Kelly Mitchell, Best Makeup Design award. Photo: Supplied.

Glitz and glamour come with the territory of screen industry awards dos. Thankfully, so does the acknowledgement of those who work behind the scenes to allow the publicly recognisable stars to shine.

No question that the likes of Best Actress Antonia Prebble (Double Parked) and Dominic Ona-Ariki (One Lane Bridge) deserve to be recognised for their incredible skill and dedication to their performances.   Equally so, they're happy to share that time in the sun with the crew who make it possible.

As John Allan, winner of Best Production Design for his work on (One Lane Bridge) noted "The last thing I won was a meat raffle at the Balmain Sailing Club in Sydney 30 years ago."

The Gone's Kelly Mitchell shared the sentiments of many when she accepted the Best Makeup Design award, declaring "My extended, heartfelt gratitude for the NZ TV awards for recognising our hard work and talent in this industry."

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Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper, Best Original Score. Photo: Supplied.

Everyone who walked across the stage at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre thanked those who helped get there, both in front of and behind the camera (plus lots of sweet shout-outs to Mums and Dads). The kaupapa of collaboration was celebrated throughout.

"These programmes, there's so much involved, there's a lot of trust," explained Best Original Score victor Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper (for The Gone: Season 1, Episode 4). "I really appreciate the trust that's involved in our industry for coming to someone and believing in what they will bring."

The Gone produced the most awards at the 2023 edition. Along with the aforementioned Makeup Design and Original score gongs, the show also collected Best Cinematography: Drama / Comedy Drama for Dave Cameron, Pauline H Pohatu with Best Costume Design and the coveted Best Drama prize - taking the show's tally to five.

TVNZ shows dominated, with telefeature Princess of Chaos seeing key crew members Carly Turner (Best Editing: Drama / Comedy Drama) and Alana Cotton (Best Post Production Design) recognised, along with the talented Kiel McNaughton winning Best Director: Drama / Comedy Drama.

Cotton's humility is typical of those working to make something special - "I'm just really grateful to be a small part of this beautiful team."

Educators was another with a brace of awards, collecting Best Comedy and Best Supporting Actor through Rick Donald. 

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Sesilia Pusiaki, Best Supporting Actress. Photo: Supplied.

Scriptwriters weren't overlooked with Dana Leaming winning the comedy section for Not Even and Shortland Street writer Jessica Joy Wood taking out Drama.

Of this year’s 37 judged award categories and one publicly-voted category, content screened on TVNZ channels won 25 awards, content played on Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ channels won five awards, programming shown on Whakaata Māori won three awards (including one shared with The Coconet), while The Coconet and Stuff’s programming each won two awards and Sky and RNZ content received one award apiece.

Another success to be celebrated was the recognition of the groundbreaking Inky Pinky Ponky show, which was up for multiple awards with Sesilia Pusiaki a popular winner of the Best Supporting Actress trophy.

Outside of the News and reality TV gongs, the rest of the 2023 New Zealand Television Awards winners are:

Best Drama - The Gone

Best Comedy - Educators

Best Factual Series - When Bob Came

Best Documentary - No Māori Allowed 

NZ On Air Best Children's Programme - Mystic 

Best Māori Programme - NZ Wars, Stories of Wairau

Best Reo Māori Programme - Homesteads

Best Pasifika Programme - Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a

Best Director: Documentary/Factual - Toby Longbottom (Fire and Fury)

Best Director: Drama / Comedy Drama - Kiel McNaughton (Princess of Chaos)

Best Actress - Antonia Prebble (Double Parked)

Best Supporting Actress - Sesilia Pusiaki (Inky Pinky Ponky)

Best Actor - Dominic Ona-Ariki (One Lane Bridge) 

Best Supporting Actor - Rick Donald (Educators) 

Television Legend -Oscar Kightley

Best Editing: Documentary / Factual - Toby Longbottom (Fire and Fury)

Best Editing: Drama / Comedy Drama - Carly Turner (Princess of Chaos) 

Best Camerawork: Documentary / Factual - Kina Scollay & Alex Hubert (Our Big Blue Backyard - Snares Island)

Best Cinematography: Drama / Comedy Drama - Dave Cameron (The Gone)

Best Contribution to a Soundtrack - Ben Sinclair, Buster Flaws, Travis Heffernen, Steve Finnigan, Joel Haines (The Brokenwood Mysteries)

Best Original Score - Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper (The Gone)

Best Post Production Design - Alana Cotton (Princess of Chaos)

Best Production Design - John Allan (One Lane Bridge)

Best Costume Design - Pauline H Pohatu (The Gone)

Best Makeup Design - Kelly Mitchell (The Gone) 

Best Script: Comedy - Dana Leaming (Not Even)

Best Script: Drama - Jessica Joy Wood (Shortland Street)