New TV show from NZ animation & production co's

Monday 25 July 2011, 12:40PM
By New Zealand-based Flux Animation and Pickled Possum Productions

Tiki Tour – a new production from New Zealand-based children’s TV ‘dream team’, Flux Animation and Pickled Possum Productions – is set to take pre-schoolers on a daily ‘bus trip’ around the country.

Screening on TV2 from August 1, the lively programme uses an engaging mix of eye-catching animation, live action and a mix of New Zealand’s official languages – English, Maori, and New Zealand sign language.

The 154 half-hour episodes will be screened on weekdays at 8.15am, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 6am.

The programme is the joint work of award winning executive producer and director of Pickled Possum Productions, Mary Phillips, (Sticky TV, The Go Show and Kidzone 24) and award-winning Flux Animation director and producer Brent Chambers (Tamatoa the Brave Warrior, Staines down Drains, Buzzy Bee and The Adventures of Massey Ferguson).

Tiki Tour’s two young presenters are Ngatarawahi Fairhall, formerly with Maori Television and fluent in Te Reo, and NZ Broadcasting School graduate Victoria Craig. They host the show’s live action segments, interact with a crazy team of animated characters, and invite young viewers to climb aboard the Tiki Tour bus to participate in games, stories, songs, dancing and activities.

The young viewers visit real life New Zealand locations while learning about maths, language, science, technology, social sciences, the arts and health. Throughout, the youngsters experience English, Maori and sign language.

Tiki Tour was made with funding of $2.38m from NZ On Air, part of a $13m investment in children’s television announced late last year.

“NZ On Air actively sought a new preschool programme, and is delighted with this project and with TVNZ’s support,” NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson says. “These young New Zealanders are an important audience and deserve an authentic NZ series that reflects their world,” she says.

TVNZ’s Children’s Commissioner Kathryn Graham says TVNZ is ‘very excited’ about the addition of a new local pre-school show to TV2’s lineup.

“We had intense discussions with NZ On Air and the producers about how to make sure that a lot of the content and titles would clearly reflect New Zealand. Brent and his animation team at Flux really went the extra yards to ensure that,” she says.

Kathryn Graham says Tiki Tour takes bi-cultural learning for pre-schoolers to a new level, and is a positive step towards learning about Maori concepts that children will receive at school.

“The show’s animation presented a number of technical issues which required innovative solutions to remain within budget,” says co-executive producer Brent Chambers of Flux Animation. For Flux, a key to the recent success of several international ventures, including a high profile Xmas special for CBS in the US which is currently in production, has been pioneering the use of Toon Boom Harmony animation software within New Zealand.

With a talented team of local artists, all trained in-house, and led by New Zealand's number one Toon Boom specialist Erica Lack, this same technology is now being used to create 75 hours of onscreen animation for Tiki Tour.

“It was no mean feat,” Brent says. “Until the use of this technology, animation projects of this scale were cost-prohibitive for New Zealand. So we're thrilled – this is our first opportunity to produce an educational series for young New Zealanders, and working on Tiki Tour with Pickled Possum and Animation Director Dave Butler is the experience of a lifetime.”

“We're approaching the project very seriously (in a cartoony way of course!) as we see a huge potential for future development of the concept.”

Production of Tiki Tour was also challenging for Pickled Possum’s Christchurch-based team who were scheduled to light the green screen for the show on February 23, the day after Christchurch’s second major earthquake.

Co-executive producer Mary Phillips says: “Our studio and offices are in the Red Zone. Thankfully, there was no one in there when the earthquake struck, but we were unable to access the studio for almost six weeks and that meant a significant delay in production. We contemplated moving out of Christchurch to begin production but we knew the building had been given a green sticker so decided to just wait it out.”

When access was finally granted damage was minimal, but the team still had to produce 154 half-hour episodes while coping with the trauma of thousands of after-shocks and the effects of the quakes on their personal lives.

The presenters, neither of whom had experienced an earthquake, arrived in Christchurch on schedule just days after the February quake. During the six-week wait for re-entry to the building, they rehearsed their scripts at the producer’s kitchen table instead of in the studio.

Mary Phillips says Tiki Tour’s going to air in August is testimony to the dedication of the production team. “It’s a triumph that this lively, positive show for young viewers was produced amidst such devastation.”

Credits for Tiki Tour are below. ENDS
This press release has been sent to you by Flux Animation Studio and Pickled Possum Productions. For further information, please contact Flux Managing Director Brent Chambers on 09 360 6003 or
027 275 6531, or Pickled Possum Productions Managing Director Mary Phillips on 09 376 7780 or 021 629 891. A range of high resolution images are available on request.
Tiki Tour’s animation team at Flux Animation and production team at Pickled Possum Productions are professionals with extraordinary expertise. They include:
Co-executive Producer
Brent Chambers
(Tamatoa the Brave Warrior, Staines down Drains, Buzzy Bee and The Adventures of Massey Ferguson)

Animation Director
Dave Butler

Toon Boom Specialist
Erica Lack

Line Producer
Csaba Nehez

Co-executive Producer
Mary Phillips
(Sticky TV, The Go Show and Kidzone 24)

Anne Williams
A former Producer for What Now, Being Eve, Action Central, The Go Show, and Shortland Street

Musical Director (live action)
Doug Wright
A former Musical Director for Play School, You and Me, The Go Show, and Action Central