Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland

City Manager

Your Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland City Manager and judge is AJ Murtagh.


AJ is an award-winning actor, director and writer currently working towards his Masters in Creative Practice (Film & Acting) with a diverse background in film-making.

He first realised that film was for him when, as an impressionable child, he saw Bruce Campbell cut off his hand with a chain saw in Evil Dead 2.

After a number of years in the trenches of the 48Hours competition in Wellington and Auckland, he is excited to be involved in a new capacity.

When not watching, making or writing about movies, AJ enjoys true crime podcasts, punk rock, and peanut butter on toast but struggles when writing bios about himself in the third person.

Need a hand? Give him a text, call or email!

Call AJ: 020 4019 3533

Launch venue

From 6pm - Hollywood Cinema, 20 Saint Georges Road, Avondale, Auckland

Shoot weekend deals

PLS is offering a 50% discount on all gear for 48hr Teams. All equipment can be picked up from Friday from 8.30am until 5.00pm - sorry guys but we are NOT open on Sat morning. We have extended our return time to 1.00pm on Monday as sleep ins will no doubt be required. 
Please call to discuss any questions you have with the team on 374 0244.

Please note that PLS has moved since the last comp - we are now located at 520 Rosebank Rd, Avondale!


This year heats will be running online rather than in cinemas due to the risk of Covid-19. The heats schedule will be published on the Heats page. We will be streaming them on Youtube and Facebook.

Auckland City Finals

Information to come


Lisa Taouma


Lisa Taouma is a director and producer who has a laufala bag spilling over with Pasifika screen credits.

She has directed on Tagata Pasifika, helmed TV2’s Polyfest and made documentaries on subjects from Samoan tattoo to fa’afafine.

She produces pioneering PI youth show Fresh with Mario Gaoa, and in 2014 launched Polynesian online community Coconet.

Taouma also wrote short films Brown Sugar and Talk of the Town.  

James Roque


Comedian, writer, motion-sickness sufferer, James is the Filipino step-son of New Zealand comedy. A favourite on the scene, he has been part of the New Zealand
International Comedy Festival since 2012 and has put on multiple successful seasons. 

In 2019, James debuted his latest show Boy Mestizo to sold out audiences in Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, and Auckland. He garnered a nomination for the Fred Award for Best Show in the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival.

James’ New Zealand television credits include being a panelist on Three's 7 Days and performing on the 2018 New Zealand Comedy Gala and AotearoHA: Driving Stories. James was also featured on Three's Jono and Ben and the host of the Week in Five.

He's also one third of the sketch group Frickin Dangerous Bro, alongside Pax Assadi and Jamaine Ross. Their latest series Frickin Dangerous Bro: On the Road is streaming on TVNZ OnDemand.

Tom Sainsbury


Comedian, film-maker, star of Dead (2020), Fiona from Fiona’s Wine Reviews and two time National 48Hours winner, Tom Sainsbury became publicly known during the 2016 elections when his Snapchat videos of politicians were shared around the internet.

Since then, he has acted in Shortland Street, Wellington Paranormal, and The Educators. He is also a regular guest on TV2’s Have You Been Paying Attention

Hweiling Ow


Upon arriving in New Zealand, Hweiling Ow was bitten by a radioactive weta that made her fall stupendously in love with film-making.

She has since developed multi-hyphenated skills in the areas of producing, writing, directing, and acting.

Hweiling has been taking the world by storm with her online digital series and short horror films that have garnered millions of views. She has also successfully received New Zealand funding for numerous local productions.

Like a moth drawn to a flame thrower, she is attracted to telling genre stories with a migrant twist. Her quirky, cheery view of the world influences the type of projects that captivate her.

Cole Meyers


Cole Meyers is a writer, activist, and educator. Cole is the writer and co-producer for the recent critically acclaimed film Rūrangi. 

He works as a consultant on trans and gender diverse narratives and inclusion in film, television, web series and theatre, including at Shortland Street, where he is currently a dialogue writer and previously a story-liner. 

Cole is a regular speaker and interviewee on trans representation, and is passionately focused on supporting the authentic representation, creative opportunities and powerful potential of gender diverse people.

Guy Pigden


Guy Pigden is a writer, director, editor, and producer who recently completed his second feature film Older, distributed by Indie Rights. Older is currently available through Amazon, Tubi, and Google Play.

His first feature film I Survived A Zombie Holocaust (funded by the NZFC through the Escalator initiative), which he wrote and directed, enjoyed a successful international festival run premiering at London’s Frightfest.

The film won the Independent Spirit Award at Sydney's Night of Horror International Film Festival and was also nominated for Best Screenplay at the 2015 New Zealand Writers Guild Awards.

Luanne Gordon


 Luanne Gordon has been working as a professional actor in the film and TV industry for over two decades.

Most recently, she played Margaret Baine in the mini-series Black Hands.

In her downtime, she likes to write her own short films and, alongside working as a dialogue writer for Shortland Street, Luanne is currently working on her first feature-length script.

Karl Burnett


When he left Shortland Street in 2005 after 14 years and 3100 episodes, Karl Burnett was the soap's longest-serving cast member.

His often comical character Nick Harrison stole many scenes, romanced at least eight Shortland characters, and watched as longtime love Waverley Wilson was kidnapped.

Post-Shortland, Burnett has worked on and off camera, and reported on video games for 2003 show Screenshot.

In 2010 he master-minded and co-starred in low budget comedy Captain Amazingly Incredible and the Space Vampires from the Evil Planet. In 2019 Burnett hit the headlines, after withdrawing from reality show Celebrity Treasure Island.

Steve Barr


Steve is the Commissioner for Drama and Scripted Comedy for Television New Zealand. 

He's been hired to write a dozen or so screenplays in the New Zealand, American, and Chinese industries, two of which have been produced - Timeslow and Born To Dance.

He has produced nearly 20 short films and two features - Chronesthesia and Hang Time.

Steve is a member of the WGA, WIFT, and SPADA, and served as President of the NZ Writers Guild.