Rachel Lang

Executive Producer, Co-creator, Writer

Rachel Lang has more than two decades of experience as a writer, script, story editor and is one of the top drama creators in New Zealand. For series five of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE Rachel is not only storylining and writing on the series but she is also serving as script editor.

Rachel’s work was recognised at the 2008 NZ WIFT Awards where she won the TV3 and C4 Award for Success in New Zealand Television. At the 2008 Qantas Film and Television Awards, she also won the Best Script (Comedy/Drama Programme) award for series three, episode 11 of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE.

As a Head Writer at South Pacific Pictures, Rachel, alongside Gavin Strawhan, was also co-creator, storyliner, writer and script editor on the New Zealand drama series, Go Girls. Kate McDermott also co-wrote the series.

Go Girls was not the first production Rachel and Gavin collaborated on; in 2005 they wrote the children’s fantasy series Maddigan’s Quest, based on an original idea from Margaret Mahy. Rachel and Gavin also co-created and wrote the South Pacific Pictures drama series Mercy Peak.

Previous television series Rachel has worked on include the drama series Lawless and Jackson’s Wharf. In addition to devising and developing these series, Rachel also storylined and wrote scripts for both the shows. She also spent three years working on Shortland Street, two of those years as story editor.

Rachel has a varied background in the broadcast industry as an actor, journalist and film reviewer.

As a script editor, Rachel worked on Open House and the telefeature Mark II. She was story editor for Shark in the Park and script editor and storyliner for the first series of Marlin Bay. She has also written for PlainClothes.

From August 1995 to mid-1997, Rachel was with South Pacific Pictures as Head of Development. She worked on Citylife, the Montana Sunday Theatre drama House of Sticks, Bad Timing for the Comedy Playhouse series and Market Forces. While with South Pacific Pictures, she continued her creative involvement in Shortland Street and developed numerous new projects for the company.

Q&A with Rachel Lang

  • Shane asks Rachel: hay rachel wat the release date 4 da b00k

    Hi there,

    The book is released NZ-wide on August 7th.

  • Symon asks Rachel: Hi, Thanks so much for Outrageous Fortune – my Kiwi missus & me live in the UK and get dvds sent over. Caro says it reminds her of home (which is a bit worrying!). I was wondering where the inspiration for the characters came from? Is there a real Loretta? A real Pascalle? Are YOU the real Munter??

    Hi Symon,

    Glad you’re finding the DVDs educational about things kiwi, even if they are giving you concerns about your lovely wife. It’s hard to sum up where the inspiration for the characters came from, but they were always quite vividly themselves and not based on any one person from real life. And I don’t think either James or I can live up to the legend that is Munter. (If we did, we’d probably be too stoned to write).


  • Verne asks Rachel: Could you like post a blueprint of the West house? I’m kind of obsessed and into that sorta thing. Also, in my obsessiveness, I noticed that Cheryl’s full name is Cheryl Ann West from Wolf’s will, and that got me wondering what the full names of the other Wests are. Could you possibly release such information? :)

    I’m afraid we don’t actually have a blueprint to post.

    Actually, most of the Wests have middle names, though not many of them have been revealed onscreen. Stay tuned for more hot middle name action in the future.

  • Wongdynastyfan asks Rachel: I would love to know exactly what Draska said to Kasey just before their infamous bar fight; or is too rude for a translation? Many thanks and keep up the wonderful work.

    Anything you can imagine along the lines of Kasey being old and skanky, all with a fair bit of swearing, would probably sum it up. Draska just keen to provoke a fight, and happily for her, Kasey is generally up for one.

  • Jools asks Rachel: I’m interested to know how you came up with the names of the West children. Was Pascalle named after that 1970s – 80s perfume called “Pascalle”?

    Pascalle – was there really a perfume? I never knew. Here’s where the names came from.

    They are Wests because it’s set out West, though there was also a very bad English family of the same surname . . .

    Cheryl – just because.

    Wolf – prowly, dangerous and unique

    Wayne – it’s dead kiwi, also a bit Wild West. (His surname was initially Budd, but it failed the name check*, so he became Judd, which is better. Judge Dredd etc).

    Ted – Just sounded right. (He was initially Edward, but this failed the name check, so he became the far more interesting Theodore.)

    Rita – makes me think of 40s screen sirens like Rita Hayworth, and baddies in English boarding school fiction.

    Jethro – Jethro Tull!

    Van – Van Halen, naturally. (Wolf probably chose them; Cheryl was slightly out of it after the thirty hour labour.)

    Pascalle – it sounds classy and is probably a heroine in a romance Cheryl read.

    Loretta – Loretta Lynn is a famous country and western singer – Cheryl likes country and western. Spookily, it also sounds a bit like Rita . . .

    The names we come up with have to be checked in case there is someone out there with the same name and occupation. Therefore, it’s good to have unusual names.

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