New Zealand's best and brightest TV stars were honoured at the industry's annual celebration tonight.

At a glittering ceremony hosted by comedian Alice Snedden at Auckland's Aotea Centre, the stars of Westside, Wellington Paranormal and Shortland Street were among the big winners at the Huawei Mate30 Pro New Zealand Television Awards.

Anika Moa, Hilary Barry and Matty McLean were other popular personalities acknowledged.

It was a big night for TVNZ, which nabbed half the 26 awards presented in front of a 700-strong crowd.

Advertisement

And it was a successful night for production company South Pacific Pictures. Not only does it make TVNZ 2's Shortland Street — which became the first show to land the Television Legend Award, but it also co-produced In Dark Places, the hard-hitting Teina Pora story that won best drama feature and best drama director. The TVNZ 1 film explored the story of the man who was wrongfully convicted of murdering Susan Burdett when he was 17, and of ex-police officer Tim McKinnel attempts to secure his freedom.

In his speech for winning best director, In Dark Places director Michael Bennett spoke of the time he first met Teina Pora in 2011.

He went home and thought "what happened to this guy is f*****," and says he knew making the drama was "going to be the most important thing he did in his career." Bennett said he bought his first suit especially for the TV awards.

"It's been an extraordinary thing. It's changed our world forever," Bennett said backstage.

Mike Puru, Stacey Morrison and Anika Moa glam up the red carpet. Photo / Getty Images
Mike Puru, Stacey Morrison and Anika Moa glam up the red carpet. Photo / Getty Images

"What we're always going to be most grateful for is being able to tell our friend [Teina's] story," he said.

Appropriately, South Pacific's third big win was Three's Westside, landing best drama series for the third year in a row.

Comedy — and two shows on TVNZ 2 — won the day in the acting awards.
Breakfast host Matty McLean was crowned the 2019 Personality of the Year, which was decided by a public vote.

Danielle Cormack won best actress for her portrayal of Lulu in twisted black comedy Fresh Eggs, while Wellington Paranormal's deadpan male lead Mike Minogue was named best actor for his work as Officer Minogue.

Advertisement

Anika Moa, who also co-hosts the Hits radio drive show, won the award for best entertainment presenter for the second season of TVNZ OnDemand show Anika Moa: Unleashed.

Speaking to the Herald, she says the win was a relief.

"I'm happy to just be here, because I love the TV industry...and also I already know I'm awesome, I don't need an award to tell me that. I'm the bomb." The presenter explained.

The Casketeers, a TVNZ 1 series about the day-to-day running of a funeral business, won best original reality series and best Māori programme. Waka Hui best reo programme.

Hilary Barry and her husband Mike Barry attend the 2019 NZ Television Awards. Photo / Getty Images
Hilary Barry and her husband Mike Barry attend the 2019 NZ Television Awards. Photo / Getty Images

Other big wins for Three were Dancing With The Stars NZ, chosen as the year's best format reality series, and the Funny Girls Suffragette Special, which won best comedy/ entertainment programme.

Uncharted with Sam Neill, a series exploring the impact of Captain Cook's arrival in Aotearoa, which screened on Prime, was awarded best factual series.

Coverage of the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks dominated the current affairs awards.

Hilary Barry won best presenter, 1 News won best live event coverage for the national memorial service and Three's Newshub won best news coverage for its wider work. Away from Christchurch, Newsroom Investigates won best current affairs programme.

Barry says it was "lovely" to win the award.

"To break bad news to people...it's a difficult thing to do but it's also a really important thing to get right."

Best web series was won by Jessica's Tree, a frank and powerful story about youth suicide with a hopeful message directed and presented by Jazz Thornton.

Backstage, Thornton said the win was "completely unexpected."

"To have the series win...I definitely did not expect this at all."

Jessica's Tree producer Alex Reed says "the series was made with so much care, and Jazz was at the centre of that."

The series was made by Augusto and broadcast by NZME, publisher of the Herald.

Premium gold

Full list of winners:

NZ On Air Best Drama Series

Mark Beesley, Kelly Martin, Chris Bailey, James Griffin

Westside

South Pacific Pictures (Three)

Images & Sound Best Feature Drama
Michael Bennett, Jane Holland, Chloe Smith, Kelly Martin, Chris Bailey
In Dark Places
South Pacific Pictures and 10000 Company (TVNZ 1)

Best Factual Series
Owen Hughes - Uncharted with Sam Neill
Frame Up Films (Prime TV)

NZ On Air Best Documentary
Gaylene Preston, Catherine Madigan
My Year with Helen
Gaylene Preston Productions (Three)

Best Original Reality Series
Carmen J Leonard, Susan Leonard, Annabelle Lee-Mather, Philip Smith
The Casketeers
Great Southern Television (TVNZ 1)

Stage & Screen Travel Services Best Format Reality Series
John McDonald, Hayley Cunningham, Charlotte Hobson
Dancing with the Stars S8
MediaWorks NZ (Three)

Best Lifestyle Programme
Piri's Tiki Tour
Hokianga
Pango Productions (Māori Television)

Best Current Affairs Programme
Melanie Reid, Paul Enticott, Mark Jennings, Tim Murphy
Newsroom Investigates
Newsroom

Best Web Series
Jazz Thornton, Alex Reed, Cass Avery
Jessica's Tree
Augusto (NZME)

NZ On Air Best Children's Programme
Phil Brough, Matt Heath, Orlando Stewart
Welcome to Cardboard City
Vinewood Animation Studio (TVNZ HEIHEI)

Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Programme
Carmen J Leonard, Susan Leonard, Annabelle Lee-Mather, Philip Smith
The Casketeers S2
Great Southern Television (TVNZ 1)

Te Māngai Pāho Best Reo Programme
Kereama Wright, Mana Epiha, Megan Douglas
Waka Huia - Rereata Makiha
Scottie Productions (TVNZ 1)

NZ On Air Best Pasifika Programme
Tuki Laumea, Lisa Taouma
1918: Samoa & The Talune - Ship Of Death
Tikilounge Productions (The Coconet)

Best News Coverage
Newshub News Team
Christchurch Mosque Shootings
MediaWorks NZ (Three)

Monstavision Best Sports Programme
Brian Hitchcock, Dean Pooley, Gareth Thorne, Simon Head, Mark Malaki-Williams
Keeping the Faith: 25 Years of the Warriors Ep 1
Sky Sport (Sky NZ)

Best Live Event Coverage
TVNZ
The National Memorial Service
TVNZ (TVNZ 1)

Best Comedy/Comedy Entertainment Programme
Browynn Bakker, John McDonald
Funny Girls Suffragette Special
MediaWorks NZ (Three)

Best Director: Documentary/Factual
Gaylene Preston
My Year with Helen
Gaylene Preston Productions (Three)

Screen Auckland Best Director: Drama
Michael Bennett
In Dark Places
South Pacific Pictures and 10000 Company (TVNZ 1)

Huawei Mate30 Pro Best Actress
Danielle Cormack
Fresh Eggs

Warner Bros. New Zealand (TVNZ 2)
Best Actor
Mike Minogue
Wellington Paranormal
New Zealand Documentary Board Ltd (TVNZ 2)

Reporter of the Year
Paula Penfold
Stuff Circuit
Stuff NZ

Huawei Mate30 Pro Best Presenter: Entertainment
Anika Moa
Anika Moa Unleashed S2
Rogue Productions (TVNZ OnDemand)

Best Presenter: News & Current Affairs
Hilary Barry
Christchurch Terror Attack
TVNZ (TVNZ 1)

Woman's Day Television Personality of the Year*
Matty McLean (Breakfast, TVNZ 1)
*Winner decided by public vote via Woman's Day & nowtolove.co.nz

Huawei Mate30 Pro Television Legend
Shortland Street
South Pacific Pictures (TVNZ 2)