Great Southern is a multi-genre independent production company that aims to make great television and film for the world. We thrive on creating strong ideas we believe in, attaching really talented and motivated staff and then delivering this content to our extensive list of partnering broadcasters.

Our goal is to focus on network needs, ensuring each commissioned series is aligned with the broadcaster's various goals. We have set our own high production standards and we're striving to lift these on a daily basis.

We kicked off in 2002 and we really have grown quickly, but without compromising our standards on any production. As a result we have an exciting roster in the drama, factual, comedy, light entertainment and film genres.

Great Southern Television is run by producer Philip Smith, and part owned by retail legend David Levene.

The company has worked with a host of broadcasters locally and internationally, including the Discovery Channel, TVNZ, TV3, SKY, BBC and ESPN. New Zealand on Air, the government funding agency, is also a major supporter and funding partner of Great Southern Television programming.

Key Staff

Philip Smith
CEO

Philip is Australasia's most prolific television creator and producer. He's personally created over 50 original television series, that have sold and screened world over, including BBC2, Sky UK, Nat Geo, Discovery, the History Channel, Ch7 Australia, Ch9 Australia, TVNZ, TV3 and Prime, to name a few.

He has been named NZ Producer of the Year by his peers at SPADA, and continues to average 3 original ideas being commissioned each year.

Smith creates both factual, light entertainment and drama series and hands them to the talented GSTV team, overseeing the content as an executive producer. As CEO he ensures all departments are given the creative freedom to produce great content for our clients.

Carmen Leonard
Head of Production

Carmen is our Head of Production and is widely regarded in the industry as New Zealand's leading showrunner and executive producer. Carmen is a true force and a delight to work with, especially popular with networks as she delivers high quality, award-winning material.

She is equally skilled in drama, factual and light entertainment, making her uniquely placed to execute great projects over a vast range of genres. Her project CV ranges from The Block to Coast New Zealand, in drama the award-winning Outrageous Fortune - to the acclaimed Hillary series.

Amanda Beckett
CFO | General Manager

Amanda is a Chartered Accountant with 20 years experience in a broad range of Media organisations, including multi-national television broadcasters and independent television production companies.

After spending 10 years in the UK, where she held posts in a range of organisations including Walt Disney and Chrysalis Media, Amanda returned to NZ working for Telecom and Fairfax Media before joining Great Southern TV to head up their finance and corporate affairs, and was promoted to General Manager in March 2013.

Amanda was on the WIFT board from July 2010 to Oct 2014.

Annabelle Lee
Head of Indigenous Projects

Annabelle Lee is an award-winning journalist with 16 years experience in broadcasting. She has worked across a range of programming as a producer, presenter, director, executive producer and Māori consultant before joining Great Southern Television in 2015.

Annabelle was both the executive producer/producer of Māori Television’s 2014 general election coverage the award winning current affairs programme Native Affairs. She has presented the popular equine series Hoiho. As well as producing The Hui, Annabelle appears as a commentator for mainstream networks and a panelist for The Spinoff.

Anna Lynch
Senior Series Producer

Anna's industry experience is extensive in both light entertainment and factual.

She has delivered highly acclaimed light entertainment series, such as The Bachelor, X Factor New Zealand and is a highly sought after producer in the New Zealand industry, so we are very lucky to have her on board.

Nick Ward
Head of Creative

Nick has a number of hit shows under his belt from his previous company Two Heads. The Food Truck was before its time, was huge on TV One and sold globally.

When his creative partner left for the USA, Nick brought his skills to Great Southern Film and Television where he develops, writes and pitches our content to networks in New Zealand and Australia.

Lewis Gregory
Head of Digital

Lewis is our digital guru, developing a number of digital projects for Great Southern Television both with networks and other platforms.

His department is growing rapidly with projects such as The Basement and Māori Wars looking to take off in 2017.

He also manages Great Southern Film and Television’s diverse social media interests.