Drew Neemia began his screen career young. In 1996 he was the voice of child character Oscar on fantasy series Oscar and Friends, before joining McDonald’s Young Entertainers, where he spent three seasons singing and dancing. In the same period he played recurring characters in a handful of shows, including as one of William Tell's sidekicks in The Legend of William Tell. In 2006 he began co-hosting afterschool show Sticky TV, then in 2009 shifted to C4 to present music video show Select Live. Neemia later embarked on his own music career, including Top 10 single 'Paint Fade', alongside hip hop trio Smashproof.
I pretty much grew up here. I started working on McDonald's Young Entertainers when I was about 10 years old, finished when I was 13, and all I can remember from back then is just being a kid and having an extreme amount of fun. Drew Neemia at Avalon studios, recalling his time on McDonald's Young Entertainers for show Seven Sharp, 1 April 2013
Over its 16 year run, kids programme Sticky TV gave many young presenters their chance to shine — from Erin Simpson to Kanoa Lloyd (The Project) and weatherman Sam Wallace. In this episode from the final season in 2017, co-host Leanna Cooper is eager to smash a guitar to see what's inside it, while Walter Neilands pies himself in the face and heads to the South Island to see if he can create a flying machine. The episode also features co-host Teddy the Dog (a sheepdog-poodle cross), a look inside an old TV set, and advice from children on how to deal with tough teachers.
Sticky TV was one of New Zealand's longest-running kids programmes, lasting 16 years. Aimed at preschoolers through to 12-year-olds, it introduced many emerging presenters, including future TV weatherman Sam Wallace, Kanoa Llloyd (The Project) and Erin Simpson (The Erin Simpson Show). Made by Pickled Possum Productions, Sticky TV broadcast on TV3, except for four years when it aired on Four. Segments included children handing out advice to other kids, mud fights, and contests involving singing, cooking, fashion and survival. The last episode screened on Christmas Day 2017.
Hosted by Jason Gunn, this popular late 90s teen talent quest became a pop culture marker for young Kiwis of the era. In this 1999 grand final at Te Papa’s marae, judges King Kapisi and Stacey Daniels assess the year's finalists. They include 11-year-old Hayley Westenra performing ‘The Mists of Islay’, which Westenra would later record after finding global fame as a classical crossover singer. The international guest is another young prodigy: violinist Vanessa Mae. Future Sticky TV/C4 presenter Drew Neemia was one of the members of house troupe The Super Troopers.
One of the most successful television shows shot on Kiwi soil, The Tribe was the brainchild of British-born Raymond Thompson. In a future where the adults have been wiped out by a virus, the children that remain have formed into competing tribes, some of whom live to terrorise. Running five seasons, The Tribe sold to more than 120 territories, and the cast toured performances from the soundtrack for overseas fans. The cast were almost entirely New Zealanders, as were most of the crew. Sequel The New Tomorrow, following descendants of the original characters, screened in 2005.
A Twist in the Tale was one of a series of kidult shows launched by The Tribe creator Raymond Thompson, after he relocated to New Zealand. The anthology series spins from a storyteller (Star Trek's William Shatner) introducing a story (often fantastical) to a group of children, some of whom appear in the tales. The show featured early appearances by many young Kiwi thespians, including Antonia Prebble, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Dwayne Cameron and Michelle Ang. Although the writing team were British, some of the directors and most of the crew were New Zealanders.
Created by animator Cameron Chittock, with help from Kiwi animation legend Euan Frizzell, this part claymation series follows a boy named Oscar as he goes off on adventures with two imaginary friends: daring Doris and the sometimes cowardly Bugsy. In these 26 five-minute episodes, Oscar meets pirates, oversized bugs, a frog princess, jumps on a flying carpet and travels through time and space. The series screened in New Zealand from 1995 to 1999. Overseas screenings included on ITV in the UK, where it became the 10th highest rating children's show on the network.