Wiki the Kiwi comes to TV
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.
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.