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From small beginnings as TVNZ’s natural history unit, NHNZ has seamlessly expanded into a global production house with a reputation for innovation in storytelling, technology, and business integrity.
Each year, NHNZ produces more than 60 hours of television. Our productions are seen by millions of viewers in over 180 countries around the world and have received more than 300 international awards, including the prestigious Wildscreen Panda and Emmy Awards, the industry’s highest accolades.
Today, NHNZ is based in Dunedin, New Zealand with offices in Washington DC and Beijing. NHNZ is part of the RACAT stable of market-leading independent television production companies along with Beach House Pictures (Singapore) and Northern Pictures (Australia).
NHNZ continues to build on its strong foundations with a growing and diverse slate, working with multiple broadcast partners across multiple projects from classic natural history through to obs doc series and archive driven content. Working mainly with the US and Asian markets, we have established ourselves as a leader in international co-productions – helping to bring partners together from all over the globe.
As a one-stop shop, NHNZ has 80 highly-skilled filmmakers, craftspeople and researchers plus a dedicated group of technicians. With an in-house archive library, NHNZ Moving Images; a dedicated archive production unit and ZooMoo, the first children’s channel devoted entirely to the animal kingdom, NHNZ’s continues to push the boundaries of imagination in wildlife programming.
Man vs Octopus Premieres on Nat Geo WILD
NHNZ’s wildlife special Man vs Octopus had its premiere on Nat Geo WILD in the US Sunday 4 June.
Produced in co-production with Nat Geo WILD, the one hour special event presents a series of contests to determine who will triumph in the ultimate challenge of man versus octopus.
The show sets experts head-to-head and arm-to-tentacle against these mysterious creatures in tests of strength, camouflage, and flexibility – while researchers probe the uncanny intelligence of a mollusc that has 9 brains compared to our single one.
Showrunner Sue Houghton says she and her team came away from the production with a new found respect for octopuses.
“The show was initially inspired by the Giant Pacific Octopus wrestling competitions from the 50s and 60s. Divers would wrestle with these ‘sea monsters’ and try to pull them out of the ocean to weigh them, with the largest and heaviest awarded a prize. This doesn’t happen today, but it made us wonder what other challenges might compare humans and octopuses?
“By the time we’d finished filming, we were all convinced that octopuses are the coolest animals on Earth, and our crew is proud to share their amazing abilities with the world.”
Man vs Octopus is distributed internationally by FOX Networks Group Content Distribution.
5 June 2017
CITVC & NHNZ to Co-Produce Secrets of China
CITVC and NHNZ announce at MIPTV 2017 a co-development deal for a new 12-part documentary series titled Secrets of China. The series will explore some of China’s most famous icons, from ancient and modern architecture to epic natural wonders.
Taking advantage of CITVC’s abundant catalogue of Chinese content and NHNZ’s state of the art post-production capabilities, the co-production partners will bring new life to Chinese domestic-market content and tailor it to the international market. ZDF Enterprise will distribute the series outside Asia.
Ms Shen Jianing, General Manager of CITVC-CHNPEC says: “NHNZ, as one of our crucial members of The Belt and Road Media Community, is a world-class television production company and we are glad to have this opportunity to cooperate with them. China has a rich culture. We hope such a series could help the westerners realise the beauty of this country."
The series includes programs about Tibet, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and also China’s modern mega structures. Stories of the powerful and the passionate will be brought to life with dramatic re-enactments and a mix of animation and CGI with original, cinematic HD footage of priceless artworks, artefacts and natural wonders.
NHNZ Managing Director Kyle Murdoch hopes the series will be the first of more co-productions with the Chinese company: “CITVC is one of China’s top content producers and distributors. With our expertise in telling China’s story from the international perspective, such co-productions will help promote more premium Chinese content to the international market.”
NHNZ has become one of the biggest international documentary content production companies, operating in China, and produced its first China-based production in 1998. Since then, NHNZ has co-produced over 70 hours of documentaries with Chinese partners.
The “Belt and Road Media Community”, sponsored by China Central Television (“CCTV”) and China International Television Corporation (“CITVC”) and supported by media from Asia, Europe America, Africa and Oceania, was formally founded on August 26, 2016 in Beijing. So far, the Community has attracted 53 media agencies and production companies from 33 countries throughout the world, aiming at reaching consensus among the Silk Road media, integrating all of the best resources into an open, equal, mutually-beneficial and win-win international TV cooperation platform which tells the Silk Road stories, spreads the Silk Road culture, develops the Silk Road spirit, and consequently promotes interactive communications and cultural exchanges.
5 April 2017
NHNZ, PBS and ZDF Enterprises have just announced that actor and producer, Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0, Lost, 3AD Productions) is set to narrate the upcoming blue-chip series Big Pacific. The series is to be featured at a preview screening during MIPDOC in Cannes this weekend and will have its television premiere on PBS stations this summer. Two years in the making, Big Pacific breaks boundaries between land and sea to capture the most guarded secrets of the world’s biggest ocean.
29 March 2017
NHNZ’s The Desert Sea UHD Special Premieres on Nat Geo WILD
NHNZ’s two-part UHD wildlife special The Desert Sea is set to premiere on Nat Geo WILD in the U.S. this Sunday January 22nd at 9 P.M. ET. It rolls out internationally in April.
The series is the first from a slate of UHD specials coming out of production house NHNZ, with another fifteen hours of UHD wildlife documentary titles delivering over the next six months.
Made in co-production with Nat Geo WILD, The Desert Sea hones in on North America’s iconic Sonoran Desert.
The first hour explores why the Sonoran is the wettest and most diverse desert on the continent with its unique proximity to the Gulf of California and the great Pacific Ocean, while the second hour focuses on the abundant and diverse creatures that have adapted to desert life in this hostile environment.
Despite the extreme heat there is an incredible diversity of animals of all types here, including mammals like the ice-age surviving Pronghorn antelope, the speedy Jackrabbit and the iconic Mountain Lion; unusual birds like the almost flightless road runner, the world’s smallest owl, and the Harris hawk – the only raptor to use cooperative hunting; and downright weird reptiles such as the venomous Gila Monster, the imposing Chuckwalla and the prehistoric looking Horned lizard.
Series Producer Lorne Townend says he and his team were excited to work in this challenging environment, with its extreme heat and remoteness.
“The Sonoran Desert is a unique and beautiful place. As the most biodiverse desert in the world it is an extraordinary environment to study on film and makes the perfect subject for the UHD format. There are some exceptional creatures here, clinging to the edge of existence in conditions that have pushed them to evolve unique adaptations to survive.”
“The higher resolution of 4K offers greater depth and clarity of light, as well as richer colours, and is ultimately able to bring the natural world into the living room, like you are there yourself. We hope The Desert Sea will offer a new insight into this territory.”
The Desert Sea is distributed internationally by ZDF Enterprises.
Kyle Murdoch, Managing Director
Anya Durling, Head of Marketing and Development
Sue Houghton, Executive Producer
Judith Curran, Executive Producer
As the Earth spins, there’s a point where all we can see is the Pacific Ocean: it holds half of our world’s water, and hides the deepest place on our planet. 75 percent of Earth’s volcanoes surround the Pacific, even though it stretches from Pole to Pole. It’s greater than all Earth’s land combined, and home to beasts beyond our dreams – and our nightmares. In this groundbreaking series, the world’s best cinematographers and researchers will capture its most guarded secrets to share with viewers everywhere.
Extreme Animal Babies
The natural world is full of animal baby daredevils. They can also be brave, messy, stroppy, fussy, tough, gross, precocious, demanding prima donnas and trouble makers. In Extreme Animal Babies we reveal the different personalities and behaviours of the world’s baby animals and find the most extreme examples.
Life Force II
Life Force II is a breath-taking, blue-chip documentary series that explores the unusual, the unexpected... and the downright bizarre. This series, following in the footsteps of the first Life Force series, reveals incredible habitats where nature has allowed mutant animals, extraordinary adaptations, and curious patterns of behaviour to flourish through the miracle of natural selection and the wonder of evolution.
Giant Pandas: Born to be Wild
In Giant Pandas: Born to Be Wild, we follow the challenges and triumphs of a group of pandas at Bifengxia Panda Center, and the centre’s remote mountain base at Wolong. We witness our panda characters give birth, raise their cubs and choose a partner for mating; leading to the ultimate goal of releasing a young panda into the wild…
Our Big Blue Backyard
Our Big Blue Backyard is a 6 x 1 hour series produced for TV One exploring six unique marine locations around New Zealand’s coastline. The series reveals the daily dramas, challenges and triumphs of the marine animals who live in these neighbourhoods - from iconic Orca, dolphins and sharks through to blue cod, snapper and crayfish and all in between. Our Big Blue Backyard connects the audience to these creatures, like never before.
The second season received a green light from NZ on Air in March 2015.
WILD 24 celebrates the eternal rhythm of light and dark in different locations around the world, revealing the behaviours of a myriad of animals that battle it out to survive over 24 hours in these exotic, but demanding environments.