Wiki the Kiwi comes to TV

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Twenty years of ded­i­ca­tion by an Auck­land an­i­ma­tion stu­dio has pro­duced New Zealand’s first an­i­mated tele­vi­sion se­ries to star our na­tional bird.

The Grey Lynn-based Flux An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio di­rec­tors Brent and Su­san Cham­bers have cre­ated Wiki the Kiwi, a dig­i­tal high def­i­ni­tion com­puter-an­i­mated show for preschool­ers which fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of the lov­able Wiki, who en­joys ex­plor­ing and learn­ing and is of­ten un­ex­pect­edly brave.

The first se­ries of 13 seven-minute episodes will screen at 6.30am on Satur­days on TV2, start­ing to­mor­row morn­ing.

The idea of a se­ries with a kiwi at the cen­tre was born two decades ago when Mr Cham­bers be­gan work on Foot­birds, which was to be an an­i­mated ad­ven­ture com­edy about ki­wis and their con­flicts with in­tro­duced species.

In 2006 the idea of a kiwi se­ries was re­born, and this time the con­cept ex­plores the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a kiwi and another crea­ture.

The se­ries fol­lows Wiki and his best friend, the highly emo­tional and fran­tic Brian the Bat.

The pair are op­po­sites – Wiki is a bird which can­not fly, Brian is not a bird but has flight.

‘‘I worked with scriptwriter Stephen Maire on the new-con­cept se­ries,’’ Mr Cham­bers says.

‘‘We used to cre­ate comics dur­ing school lunchtimes to­gether. We both loved work­ing with Wiki’s weirdis-nor­mal bot­tom-of-the­world habi­tat and love the unique and fa­mil­iar look of the show.’’

Wiki the Kiwi

has been made with a 1970s stopframe look which Mr Cham­bers says has at­tracted in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing is made of pil­lows, mat­tresses and py­jama cloth.

‘‘We’ve given

it a tex­ture like New Zealand hand­made crafts,’’ he says. ‘‘That look is unique and is one of the rea­sons for so much in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est.’’

In­ter­est is com­ing from from Aus­tralia, Canada, Ire­land and Asia but Mr Cham­bers says it will re­main a New Zealand show.

‘‘We’ve fought hard to keep as much own­er­ship of the show in New Zealand as pos­si­ble – af­ter all, what could be more lo­cal than a kiwi?’’

Kiwi story: Wiki the Kiwi cre­ator Brent Cham­bers.

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