ASK ME ANYTHING: John Barnett - your questions answered on NBR Radio

NBR Radio host Owen Poland puts your questions to the one-time NBR owner turned Godfather of NZ film and TV production.

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In 1971, John Barnett was part of a group of investors (also including Hugh Rennie, Ian F Grant and Reg Birchfield) who recapitalised the respected but under-funded National Business Review.

But the South Pacific Pictures chairman is best known for being, as The Listener put it, "The Godfather of NZ film and television production."

In November 1993, he was appointed managing director of South Pacific Pictures (SPP), which was then part of TVNZ. Five years later he led a management buy-out of the company, taking a 40% stake for himself. The balance was bought by UK-based All3Media.

Mr Barnett has produced, or executive produced, four of New Zealand's seven top grossing films – Whale Rider, Sione's Wedding, Footrot Flats and What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

And, according to NZ on Screen, SPP's annual output has represented as much as 40% of local television production. Series in its stable include Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, NZ Idol, Nothing Trivial, Go Girls and the new Westside.

Last year, SPP and its UK parent All3Media were bought by Discovery Communications (owner of the Discovery and Animal Planet Channels) and Liberty Global, in a deal worth £550 million ($1.1 billion).

Mr Barnett stepped down as chief executive at the same time but remains SPP's chairman with a focus on the development and production of feature films as well as international co-production partnerships.

To build your own NBR Radio playlist and enjoy instant on-demand access to any audio, sign up for our FREE smartphone-only subscription to NBR ONLINE.

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