In the Family: Victoria Hardy and Seru Mar

Finding herself in Wellington for a while, Hardy worked again with Sue May, helping out in the early days of industry publication Onfilm. Margaret Hilliard was another PM who gave Hardy work in the early days. 

Hardy worked her way up, jobbing as a cast driver Roger Donaldson’s (Saga of HM Bounty), to third, then second – often with firsts from overseas – and contributed to a number of films from the period that continue to be recognised today. She was on Geoff Murphy’s The Quiet Earth, Alison Maclean’s Crush and Bruce Morrison’s Queen City Rocker, the latter produced by recent Oscar nominee Finola Dwyer (Brooklyn, An Education), and with Oscar winner Lesley Vanderwalt (Mad Max: Fury Road also on the crew, (Vanderwalt’s name, for trivia fans, was misspelt on the credits).  

Hardy’s feature career more or less wrapped up as Second AD on Jane Campion’s The Piano, which was not a bad title to bow out on. She decided to move on to commercials, although it took quite a while to find enough work. Working mostly as a production assistant, Hardy did a fair amount of work with Flying Fish back in the day when Lee Tamahori was still part of the furniture.

While her early days on features were “brilliant”, Hardy has come to appreciate the long-lasting relationships that she’s built with people working in commercials. These days, she finds a lot of her work is with those with whom she’s had relationships since early in her career, like William Grieve and Barbara Williams, to name a few.

Quick to credit others, Hardy noted she was especially pleased when Portsmouth Rentals’ Leonne Kassler won the Unsung Heroine award at the recent WIFT awards bash in Auckland.

“We all worked for Larry (Parr’s) Mirage Film in the 80s,” Hardy notes, at least until A Soldier’s Tale, from which the French co-producers withdrew and the American distributor went bankrupt, forcing Mirage into receivership.

It was Tamahori who bumped Hardy up to take on the role of Production Manager on a charity job Fish was doing to support Auckland’s now-defunct Watershed Theatre. Twenty years on, Production Managing is still her preferred role although she’s performed plenty of others.

It was also in Wellington that Hardy met partner Seru Mar, while she was there on a Flying Fish TVC involving night shoots, and a waka in the Kilbirnie swimming pool. Mar was catering, still working for other companies in those days, contracting to Mel’s Diner, Flying Trestles, and Wild, Wild Kitchen on a variety of productions. 

Hardy and Mar’s relationship was a long-distance one for a while, as she continued to work on TVCs out of Auckland and he went on to The Frighteners and other projects. Tempted to Auckland by the offer of a job on Pacific Renaissance Hercules, Mar’s been Auckland-based for most of the time since, apart from a stint back in Wellington as head chef on Lord of the Rings’ first unit.

In 1998, prior to Lord of the Rings, Hardy and Mar formed Marvel Kitchen, and set about changing how things were done. Mar was one of the first film caterers to change his location catering service from onsite truck(s) to a commercial kitchen with a hotbox delivery service. 


  1. Hi Victoria, remember me? We were on a few jobs together back in the 80s , the one sticks out was with Nick Roeg on the scouting trip to the islands for his version of Castaway. I was Googling Mort and Marion schrieber when came across you . Just an old feller reminiscing

    Mike worrall 5 years ago Reply