Vale Caterina de Nave

Pioneering New Zealand TV producer Caterina de Nave, who was SBS’s Commissioning Editor for Drama, Comedy and Entertainment from 2009 until  her retirement earlier this year, died in Sydney on Sunday, aged 67.

She had leukemia. At SBS her commissions ranged from dramas Better Man and East West 101 to the award-winning comedy Housos.

She began her TV career in Auckland in the early 70s, initially as a script editor on Play School. She was the first female to be appointed Head of Entertainment at TVNZ. 

She then became Head of Development at South Pacific Pictures, the then in-house subsidiary of TVNZ , where she helped to develop, create and produce Shortland Street, the first Kiwi drama series to screen five nights a week.

In 2000 she joined TV3 as Head of Drama and Comedy, where she commissioned strip club series The Strip, Outrageous Fortune and bro'Town and executive produced the comedies The Jaquie Brown Diaries and A Thousand Apologies.

Among her producing credits was Erebus: The Aftermath, a 4-part miniseries based on the Commission of Inquiry into the crash of Flight 901, which criticised public figures and exposed corruption in the corridors of power.

She directed episodes of Shortland Street, Country GP, Close to Home and The Topp Twins Election coverage in 1996. In 2006 she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in TV and film.

“Cat was a sharp, warm and positive woman, with a determination and creativity that inspired all around her,” SBS CEO Michael Ebeid said.

“She was incredibly supportive of new and innovative ideas, and delighted in bringing them to fruition, especially when they were bold stories that needed to be told. Cat loved nothing more than collaborating with new talent, helping them find a voice and to reach an audience. She had time for anyone – and she certainly loved to have a good chinwag.

“Despite her struggle with illness, Cat’s enthusiasm never waned. Her passion for storytelling and television was unrivalled, and her input was valued enormously. Drawing generously on her extensive industry background and strong relationships with the production sector, Cat made an extraordinary contribution to our content slate.

“Cat was an incredibly well-respected colleague, and a very dear friend to so many at SBS, including me. She will be greatly missed by the SBS family.”:


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