In the final episode of Nia's first series of extraordinary adventures, Nia and Hazel share breakfast and a cup of tea at Buckingham Palace, before setting off for Hazel's last day at Tinopai School. When they get there, Nia has two surprises for the friend she is about to farewell. Aimed at viewers aged six to 10, Nia's Extra Ordinary Life uses animation to help bring Nia's thoughts and imagination alive. After the success of their first 12 episode season, creators Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton began making a second in 2015.
New Zealand's first web series for children follows the adventures of a 10 year-old girl for whom the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Nia (Shania Gilmour) lives in the Northland seaside town of Tinopai; in this first episode she introduces herself, her friend Hazel, and her highly active imagination, which is soon teaching a bully a lesson — thanks to help from a boxing glove, and her pet taniwha George. From the folks behind Auckland Daze (Kiel McNaughton and Kerry Warkia), Nia's Extra Ordinary Life also screened on Māori Television.
Actor and law student Georgia Rippin mined her own experience to create this web series, a tragicomic portrait of a young woman at Auckland University. Rippen plays Audrey, whose misadventures span exam stress, boyfriend angst, anxiety, and sexism in the legal world. In 2017 The NZ Herald rated Dislawderly among the best new local web series; Karl Puschmann praised the amount of satire squeezed into the short running time, saying that each of season one's seven episodes "features a couple of genuine lols and offers a new spin on the classic style of cringe comedy."
In this second to last episode of season one, Nia (Shania Gilmour) is caught up in drama. Soon to farewell her best friend Hazel, she imagines dropping an elephant on Isabella but changes her mind after Isabella apologises. Feeling happier, Nia gets all her friends working together late into the night, as they set about creating a mysterious mural. Nia's Extra Ordinary Life was the first New Zealand web series aimed specially at children. A second series went into production in 2015.
Only in Aotearoa began as a 2015 webseries, one of the first fruits of a joint fund for Māori web content, created by organisations NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho. In 2017 it became a sketch comedy show on Māori Television. Hosted by multi-cultural comedy trio Frickin Dangerous Bro, the show satirises 21st Century Aotearoa life from a brown perspective. The cast includes Tammy Davis (Outrageous Fortune), Coco Solid (also a writer on the show), Tia Maipi (Born To Dance) and ex league player Wairangi Koopu. Only in Aotearoa was produced by company Kura Productions.
This hit Māori Television mockumentary series follows a couple of metro Māori men on a mission to claim a large inheritance…by finding a Māori bride. But in order to do so, the two 'plastic Māori' – property developer Tama Bradley (Boy's Cohen Holloway) and accountant George Alpert (singer/actor Matariki Whatarau) – must get in touch with their culture. In this first episode their unreadiness for the challenge is clear. NZ Herald's Alex Casey praised the show as a "hotbed for humour". Māori Bride was produced by the company behind webseries Auckland Daze and movie Waru.
Writer, producer and actor Millen Baird made a splash with his award-winning comedy show The Millen Baird Show, before going on to make the popular web turned TV series Auckland Daze. Baird has also appeared in TV dramas Being Eve and The Almighty Johnsons, and took his top off for Step Dave.
Kerry Warkia started her career as an actress, but is increasingly making a name for herself as a successful producer in the web world. She is the producer of Auckland Daze, Flat3, and Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life. Warkia and her husband Kiel McNaughton run production company Brown Sugar Apple Grunt, and are two of the key creative forces behind hit Māori Television show Find Me a Māori Bride.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand is often referred to as acting royalty in New Zealand. Ten years after her first interview with NZ On Screen, Ward-Lealand sits down again to bring us up to date on what she’s been up to over the past decade.
Thomas Coppell started out in television at Wellington company ProductionShed.TV, while studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies at Victoria University. After assisting on several of the company’s productions, he moved up to writing, production managing and later producing on te reo kids' series Huhu. Coppell is now at the helm of his own production company: Tomorrow, Rain. In 2016 he produced Matasila Freshwater’s animated short Shmeat. Since then Coppell has worked with creative collective The Candle Wasters on Happy Playland, and webseries/ webcomic hybrid Tragicomic.