Producer / Writer / Director
Hern recently co-created, produced and directed his first drama series, The Panthers, about The Polynesian Panthers; a group of street-gangsters-turned-social-revolutionaries. The series broke streaming records in New Zealand before being picked up by Endeavor Content and premiering at TIFF 2021 (as one of only four series in the programme). The Panthers is currently nominated for Best Limited Series at the emmy-qualifying Banff Rockie Awards and is being released in multiple territories around the globe.
After starting out as an actor; Hern broke onto the international scene as a creative producer with his production The Dark Horse (2015); a gritty-based-on-a-true-story-drama, directed by his friend, James Napier Robertson. TDH launched at TIFF to glowing reviews, sales to all major territories and Oscar-buzz for Cliff Curtis's transformative performance. TDH went on to win Audience Award-wins at the Rotterdam, San Francisco, Seattle and Palm Springs International Film Festivals and was a box office smash in its home territory.
Later, alongside Occupant Entertainment, Hern produced the high-octane action-comedy, Guns Akimbo (starring Samara Weaving and Daniel Radcliffe) and the madly-gripping action-horror, Shadow in the Cloud (starring Chloë Grace Moretz and directed by Roseanne Liang) which won the TIFF 2020 Midnight Madness Award.
Hern sat on the International Jury for the Berlin International Film Festival (Generation Section in 2015 and won the pitching prize at the MIFF 37 Degrees South market in Melbourne in 2016. He also won the Moa-award for "Best Film" at the 2014 New Zealand Film Awards for The Dark Horse.
Hern is currently a principal of two companies; Four Knights Film (currently in post on Joika and Tavake (who have The Panthers in market, Madame Mom in pre production and Hern and Finau’s new drama series; about skateboarding wizard, Lee Ralph, in development).
Producer / Writer / Showrunner
Nua is currently in post production on his debut feature film as writer/producer. 'Red, White & Brass' is a feel-good, semi-autobiographical, family-comedy set for release in late 2022. The film is executive produced by Taika Waititi and Carthew Neal.
A proud Tongan, born and raised in Aotearoa, New Zealand; Halaifonua, or Nua as he's more commonly known, is at the forefront of bringing Polynesian stories to our screens.
He studied at Whitireia Performing Arts as a dancer but made his name in the industry as an actor and presenter. In recent years he's taken his love of performance and shifted his focus behind the camera.
Nua brings storytelling with Tongan swag to the kava bowl of creativity. He is a writer and producer, with a mission to take his little corner of the Pacific to the world. He cut his teeth in children's television as a producer on 'Small Blacks TV', and honed his skills and vibe in series two of the much loved Polynesian series 'Baby Mama's Club'. In 2019, Nua was co-writer and associate producer on 'Jonah', the tele-feature drama series on Tongan and All Blacks rugby legend, Jonah Lomu.
In 2021, Nua teamed up with Four Knights maestro, Tom Hern (The Dark Horse, Guns Akimbo, Shadow in the Cloud) to found their pioneering production company, Tavake. Their first drama series 'The Panthers,' in which Nua wrote, created and executive produced alongside Hern, was the first New Zealand TV series to premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.
Production Co-ordinator / Actress
Born and raised in Hawkes Bay, Lani moved to Auckland for university where she received the Vice Chancellor’s Significant Student Scholarship to attend Auckland University of Technology, graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Television and Screen Production and minoring in Journalism.
With a strong passion for storytelling and serving her Pacific people, Lani directed, wrote, edited and shot her first documentary, 46 Years Later, during her final year of university. Her documentary based on a Grandmother and Grandson’s experience as a Pacific person living in New Zealand, won Best Documentary in Direct Monthly’s Online Film Festival and is currently a finalist in the Changing Face International Film Festival and the Pasifika Film Festival 2020.
Shortly after graduating, Lani crossed paths with Crystal Vaega and joined the TUKU team as a production assistant, growing the social media platform, editing content and recruiting as well as managing talent.
Lani now works full time across Four Knights Film’s entire slate with TV series, Panthers, being her first project with the crew.