Press release from NHNZ

NHNZ will once again leap into New Zealand’s great outdoors with an ambitious six-part series for TV ONE that got the funding tick from NZ On Air last week.

The series titled Wild at Heart will be fronted by The Amazing Race host and Kiwi Phil Keoghan and take a fresh look at New Zealand's National Parks, marking the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the first park, Tongariro, and the 25th birthday of the Department of Conservation.

Phil Keoghan will immerse himself in the constantly changing landscapes of our National Parks, which provide incredibly rich backdrops to the bizarre and eccentric life forms that have evolved here. Along the way he will meet a variety of people whose passion is our spectacular wilderness – whether they are rangers, visitors, school kids, scientists, fisherfolk, pighunters or conservation workers.

NHNZ EVP Development and Marketing, Neil Harraway describes this series as a coup for NHNZ, which will for the first time in over a decade return to its origins – exploring New Zealand’s wild lands, animals and people.

“We work in the international market full-time now, and across all genres, so it’s with huge excitement amongst the team here in Dunedin that we are launching into a home grown series. While it’s gratifying to have had such success on the global market, there’s nothing like making something for a home audience.”

TVNZ Commissioner of Documentaries, Jude Callen says: “TVNZ is thrilled to take a walk on the wild side with NZ On Air and NHNZ in this exciting series for TVONE. We want to give all New Zealanders the opportunity to join Phil on a unique adventure and explore the magic that is our New Zealand wilderness.”

The series will venture into Tongariro, Whanganui, Te Urewera, Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes, Kahurangi, Paparoa, Mt Cook, Westland and Fiordland.

Director General Al Morrison said DOC will be working closely with the NHNZ team and local iwi so the documentary makers can fully capture the special places and people that make up the National Park system.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to show New Zealanders the real value of their unique landscapes and wildlife – and also to gain a better understanding of the people and the stories that make our National Parks so special,” says Mr Morrison.

The series was pitched to NHNZ three months ago by a group including tourism marketing guru Chris Adams, radio host Jim Mora and ex-journo and ex-Maori Television executive Joanna Paul.

Now funding has been approved, NHNZ is scheduling the series to film in 10 parks across both summer and winter, and will deliver to TVNZ late 2012.

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