400 Words - Celebrity Storytellers

Our finalists have now been chosen for “400 Words". Judges (listed below) will now have the difficult task picking a winner from each category, finalists stories have all been read by one of our kiwi celebrity story tellers. You listen to their stories read aloud by someone famous!


Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley grew up with a dream – to be a writer. So far he's had 20 children's books published and written over 100 TV animation scripts for international syndication. He's currently working on a new children's TV project. Tom’s also written TV sketch-comedy, stage musicals, commentaries and columns for the Internet and print media, plus he’s an award winning radio writer. He’s run writing workshops for young and old, and his life experiences include being a dad and granddad, TV network news presenter, pirate-radio rock DJ, singer, voice-over artist and media coach.

Shane Cortese

Shane is a New Zealand actor and singer. He is perhaps best known for his role as the evil Dominic Thompson on New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, Hayden Peters on hit show Outrageous Fortune. And ongoing roles with ‘Nothing Trivial & The Almighty Johnsons, Shane was also a runner-up on Season 1 of NZ Dancing with the Stars in 2005.After appearing on Dancing with the Stars he hosted TV3's So You Think You Can Dance.Cortese is also the patron for ACTA (Auckland City Theatre Academy), a youth theatre company training students aged 5–18 in musical theatre.

Michael Galvin

Michael Galvin is one of the original cast members of Shortland Street, appearing as Chris Warner in the very first episode on May 25, 1992.

A graduate of Victoria University and Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, Michael had an extensive stage career before joining Shortland Street. His theatre credits include roles in Ladies Night, Foreskin's Lament, Blue Sky Boys and Phantom of the Opera.

In 1996, Michael took a break from Shortland Street to write and travel. During this time, he had roles in the television productions Highwater and Coverstory, and the feature film The Climb, which starred John Hurt.

Also a talented playwrite, Galvin was recognised as an outstanding emerging playwright, winning New Zealand's most significant national theatre award, the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 2007. This prestigious annual award recognises the work of outstanding emerging New Zealand playwrights.

Kevin Milne – ONZM

Kevin Milne is one of New Zealand television’s longest-serving reporters, best known for his 26 year run as a reporter and presenter on Fair Go. Milne was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honors, for his services to broadcasting and the community. He also won the 2004 Qantas Media Award for Best Presenter, and a 2009 Qantas Television Award for best News and Current Affairs presenter.

Jamie McDell

Singer/Songwriter Jamie McDell was discovered at the age of 16 by EMI Music New Zealand after sending them a demo tape of her acoustic music. Prior to being signed by a major record label, McDell used various social media outlets to gain exposure, posting YouTube videos - including original songs and cover songs, Twitter and Facebook to get her music out to the masses. She released her debut single, "You'll Never Take That Away", in 2012, which was certified Gold in New Zealand. She wrote the song called "Ode To the Lines" for Grobal Citizen. It was released July 2013 on iTunes Store with all proceeds going towards helping those living in extreme poverty. She performed with Anika Moa the song they wrote at the Gloval Citizen Concert on 4 August 2013.

Andrew Fagen

Andrew Fagan New Zealand writer, singer and songwriter. He grew up in Wellington. He gained fame in New Zealand in the 1980s as the lead singer of the pop group The Mockers.

Following the success of The Mockers' 1985 hit "Forever Tuesday Morning", Fagan won the RIANZ 1985 award for Top Male Vocalist of the Year. Since The Mockers broke up, he has recorded and performed as a solo artist under the name Fagan and with his band LIG. He has written a sailing-themed autobiography, Swirly World, the Solo Voyages (2002), and several collections of poetry. He has also been involved with the TVNZ Intrepid Journeys television series.

Peter Elliot


Peter Elliott is an award winning actor & presenter, he won the Qantas Film and TV Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for his role in Until Proven Innocent.  He was again nominated in 2012 for his portrayal of Harold Beauchamp in Bliss.  He won Best Presenter for his Explorers documentary series and was nominated as Best Presenter for the Captains Log series and for Best Actor in his role as Rex Redfern in Gloss.

Peter originally trained at the Court Theatre under the tutelage of Elric Hooper.  He has appeared throughout New Zealand in over 50 theatre productions in a career spanning more than thirty years.

Peter wrote and co-produced the documentary Jungle Rain and the BBC/ABC/TVNZ joint production of  Revealing Gallipoli

Film and Television appearances number in the hundreds with long stints in Gloss, Shortland Street, and Homeward Bound.

Currently Peter is making a documentary series called Art Of The Architect for TVNZ which will screen on TV One later in 2013.  His Export Gold Match Fishing League series for Prime and SKYSport is entering its fourth season.

He is the face of Civil Defence commercials and sits on the board of Central City Baseball and Baseball NZ.

Tim Balme

Tim Balme first got the acting bug as a teenager, playing an aging king at Otumoetai College.In 1987 entered drama school Toi Whakaari, in the same intake as Cliff Curtis, Marton Csokas and future Shortland Street actor Michael Galvin.TV/Film roles included a recurring role as sleazy biker Greg Feeney in Shortland Street,other roles include characters in Mercy Peak. He went on to work as a storyliner and occasional scriptwriter over four seasons of South Pacific Pictures' Outrageous Fortune.Tim also worked on the development of productions including Nothing Trivial, The Blue Rose and box office hit Sione's 2: Unfinished Business.

Aside from his writing and development work, Balme has narrated for a number of documentaries and reality shows, including Border Patrol and Tough Act. After a cameo role as a drug dealer in the final series of Outrageous Fortune, Balme has returned to the screen in SPP comedy/drama The Almighty Johnsons