Making the Journey
A project like Frontier of Dreams is a huge challenge for any television production company. It is the largest documentary series ever made in New Zealand. It brings together all the essentials that make great storytelling - people, pictures, sounds and music - and the stories and experiences that are told through those elements.
The history series was conceived and produced by Whakapapa Productions, a joint venture company between two independent film and television production houses, Te Reo Television and Top Shelf Productions. Whakapapa Productions was established specifically to make Frontier of Dreams.
The producers of Frontier of Dreams and principals of Whakapapa Productions are:
Ray Waru - Te Reo Television: Ray Waru has been involved in radio and television since the late 1970s. In 1980, he established the first Maori production unit in New Zealand television and produced and directed a wide range of Maori programming; including the first ever full Maori language drama production, Te Ohaki a Nihe, and coverage of the Te Maori exhibition.
In the 1980s he produced and directed a ground-breaking documentary series, The Natural World of the Maori, a number of film and television projects both here and in Australia, and an IMAX production for the East/West Centre in Hawaii. As the Chief Executive of the Aotearoa Maori Radio Trust, he was responsible for developing a national Maori radio system.
In recent years Ray Waru had produced or directed over 40 hours of documentary films and series. He was co-producer of the last major history series, Our People, Our Century, a winner at the 2000 TV Awards, and produced Toro Mai, a 25-part serial drama in te reo.
Vincent Burke - Top Shelf Productions: Vincent Burke set up Top Shelf Productions in 1988. Since then the company has made over 250 hours of documentaries, docu-series and docu-soaps, corporate training videos, dramas and feature films.
Top Shelf has a significant body of feature and drama work including three one-off dramas, a feature film, a German/NZ co-production and a mini series.
Top Shelf films and documentaries have been screened at more than 10 international film festivals. They include Cinema of Unease, directed and presented by Sam Neill, which won Best Documentary in the NZ Film and Television Awards and was in Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, and the children's feature film, Flight of the Albatross, which won awards at film festivals in Berlin and Giffoni in Italy.
You can find out more about how the programme was put together and who has been involved by clicking on the links on the right hand side of the page.