A family affair - Leonard siblings clean up at NZTV awards

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Te Arawa, Rangitāne siblings Susan, Carmen and Wayne Leonard are ecstatic to have all won awards at this year’s New Zealand Television Awards.  The director and producers say success is in the genes.

“I grew up learning that I needed to put on an event cause that's what my father did- and to make a programme that people would want to see," says Wayne Leonard.  

Wayne produced this year’s Māori Television ANZAC Dawn Service, which won Best Live Event Coverage at the awards.

Sister, Carmen is a multi-award winning executive producer for NZ Wars: Stories of Ruapekapeka, which won two awards, while also taking home one award each for The Casketeers, Coast NZ and The Dance Exponents - Why Does Love?

“I spent a lot of time with dad at various different shows that he worked on producing [and] directing.  'On the Mat'- that's where it started.  I was the cabler,” says Carmen.

Their father, Ernie Leonard, was a pioneering broadcaster and worked as an announcer for On the Mat and as the first head of TVNZ's Māori department.

His passing 24 years ago influenced daughter Susan to direct The Casketeers, winner of Best Original Reality Series.

“Tangi are magical and the way that we as Māori grieve is really beautiful and I'm not afraid of death," says Susan, "And we just treat it with deep respect.”

There is no doubt these siblings will continue in their craft.