Cheers to Beers for Bears

Dunedin-based New New New Corporation (Fermented Beverage Division) and NHNZ’s Wild Studios are collaborating on a bold new online video and fundraising initiative; brewing beer to help threatened sun bears. This innovative project will help to support the Sun Bear Outreach charity in Borneo.

NHNZ’s short-form division, Wild Studios, is creating a web series to showcase how New New New (NNN) is crafting an American brown ale in the sun bears’ name. A portion of the proceeds from every beer sold will be donated toward Sun Bear Outreach. Wild Studios’ online webisodes will delve into the fascinating process of brewing beer and celebrate the people coming together to support the cause, including a launch party on Friday 2nd November, 2018.

NHNZ became aware of the sun bears’ plight while filming an upcoming series, Orangutan Jungle School, at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. While BOSF and the NHNZ film crew’s work focused on orangutans, the arrival of an orphaned sun bear cub, named Denny Bear, uncovered the struggles that this vulnerable species also faces in order to survive in the wilds of Borneo.

 Denny Bear with Yati, Head Vet at BOSF Nyaru Menteng. Photographer credit: Braydon Moloney.

Denny Bear with Yati, Head Vet at BOSF Nyaru Menteng. Photographer credit: Braydon Moloney.

BOSF cares for 16 sun bears at their existing facility. However, ideally the bears would be cared for at a sanctuary dedicated solely to sun bears. Fortunately such a place does now exist, called Sun Bear Outreach. Transporting the sun bears from Central Kalimantan to Sun Bear Outreach in East Kalimantan is expensive. This is the motivation behind NHNZ and New New New’s fundraiser; to support the transport of these precious bears, expand the Sun Bear Outreach facility and spread awareness about sun bears. These bears require sanctuaries due to the destruction of their habitat, including large-scale deforestation for palm oil plantations.[i] Sun bears are classified by the IUCN as Vulnerable.

“NHNZ created the Wild Studios division to help use our award-winning production skills to promote awareness of true stories that are important to us. Once the seed of the ‘Beers for Bears’ idea was planted, the collaboration with New New New really took off. We are excited to taste the finished product, but even more excited to see the positive impacts of this online video and fundraising campaign for the sun bears,” says NHNZ Managing Director, Kyle Murdoch.

Close connections with NHNZ meant collaborating on a fundraising beer was quickly embraced.  “After a couple of small batches were taste-tested and tweaked, the Sun Bear brew was born, in the form of an American brown ale, and with the label design in the conceptual stages, NNN is preparing to release a very delicious beer with a mission. Not just a superior product, but a way of raising both awareness and funds for the rescue and rehabilitation of sun bears in Indonesia,” explains New New New’s Dallas Synnott.

Tom Koykka, NHNZ’s Post Production Manager and a leader of this project, says “When looking at fundraising models, so many just have their hands out. We wanted something that would entertain, educate, have a global reach, and offer something in return. We wanted more than just feeling good. Have a beer and help a worthy cause. It’s all about the win-win.”

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the release of videos, information about how to help the cause, and something tasty to drink at New New New. NHNZ’s short-form video content about this project will soon be freely available online to spread the word.


-          Scotson, L., Fredriksson, G., Ngoprasert, D., Wong, W. M., & Fieberg, J. (2017). Projecting range-wide sun bear population trends using tree cover and camera-trap bycatch data. PloS one12(9), e0185336.
“Populations are threatened by rapid deforestation [20,21], with steeper declines detected in areas of high deforestation compared with areas of low deforestation [22].”

-          “Sun Bears are forest dependent species, and, thus area of forest loss is directly linked with population decline. Southeast Asia, which comprises nearly all of the species global range, has experienced a higher relative rate of forest loss over the past 30 years than any other part of the world (Sodhi et al. 2004, 2010; Miettinen et al. 2011; Margono et al. 2012, 2014; Dong et al. 2014).” … “Sun Bears are threatened primarily by deforestation and commercial hunting, which occurs to varying degrees throughout the range (Duckworth et al. 2012, Stibig et al. 2014). Killing due to human-bear conflicts is an additional threat, although less obvious in its impact.”

"Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes" Premieres

Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes recently premiered in South East Asia on 18 April and in Taiwan and China on 22 April, coinciding with Earth Day. This one hour special is produced by NHNZ as a commission for National Geographic Channels Network Asia.

Featuring world famous actor Jackie Chan and multi-talented entrepreneur Arthur Huang, Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes is an inspirational environmental story with some of China’s most dramatic scenery as a backdrop. Arthur and Jackie are on a mission to show the world what the new face of recycling can look like with the help of their co-creation: Trashpresso. Trashpresso is a unique factory on wheels, which can turn waste plastic into multi-use tiles on-site – even at the top of the world – the Tibetan Plateau.

Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes focuses on motivating younger generations to change the way humanity approaches environmental challenges such as plastic waste. Under Jackie’s supervision, the local children revel in helping operate the Trashpresso, including sorting rubbish and adding plastic to this revolutionary machine.

“Jackie is genuinely passionate about environmental protection and together with Arthur’s practical expertise; innovative inventions like the Trashpresso are making a positive impact on remote communities. NHNZ is a company that has been telling environmental stories for the last 40 years and we also are genuinely committed to helping others make sustainable choices. We’re incredibly proud to be able to help tell Jackie and Arthur’s story for NGC,” says NHNZ Managing Director, Kyle Murdoch.

Filming took place in October and November, 2017. Producer David Hay was impressed by the spectacular locations and felt privileged to have the opportunity to work with Jackie Chan. “It was inspirational to see someone as famous as Jackie behave so humbly. Every time we were between takes he was picking up trash. A girl asked him for an autograph and as she walked away she was picking up trash. That’s the power of the influence he has.”

 Photographer credit: Yun Niu.

Photographer credit: Yun Niu.

 Photographer credit: Xiaoyang Wu.

Photographer credit: Xiaoyang Wu.

Introducing WiLD Studios

Video content now accounts for nearly 74% of all online engagement.Recognising this movement alongside global consumer trends of authenticity and a return to nature, NHNZ have launched a new short-form division. WiLD Studios, with international brand marketer and executive producer Carolyn Managh at the helm, is on a mission to strengthen connections between brands, nature and wildlife. WiLD Studios produces cinematic short-form content – anything from 30 seconds to 30 minutes – by tapping into NHNZ’s remote production crews located in key wildlife destinations around the world.

NHNZ Managing Director Kyle Murdoch says, “WiLD Studios is the natural next step in the evolution of NHNZ. We’ve had a love affair with wildlife for over 40 years, including 10 years producing long-form documentaries co-funded by brands such as Samsung and Buick. Combine this experience with a growing appetite for short-form content and then add Carolyn’s marketing and agency experience into the mix, and we have a world class offering. This is part of NHNZ’s long-term strategy to be a best-in-class producer across a range of content offerings.”

Right out of the gate, WiLD Studios’ first big initiative is a collaboration with WWF New Zealand (spearheading the project for global). Project Extraordinary is a competition that will see one creative agency potentially make history. The challenge invites creative minds globally to develop a short-form video concept that demonstrates how sustainability is desirable and fresh; to encourage 1 billion consumers globally to make more than 50% of their purchases based on sustainability as one of the top 3 decision triggers, by 2020.

 “WiLD Studios celebrates the magnificence of our natural planet, with the mission of strengthening connections between brands, nature and wildlife. Whether it’s Antarctica, Mainland China, the Siberian Desert or the Amazon, we can make it happen with remote production crews experienced in cinematic 4K filming to international broadcast standards,” explains Carolyn Managh.

* The State of Video Marketing in 2017 – Demand Metric Report. Vidyard.

Photo credit: / Paul Wolf.

NHNZ announces appointment in USA

NHNZ announced today an addition to our growing US-based team ahead of Realscreen 2018.
Liz Brach has been appointed to a newly created VP of Production and Development position and will operate out of NHNZ’s Silver Spring office.

In this role, Brach will oversee editorial development and production of new projects made for the US market, including National Geographic Channels, Animal Planet, Discovery Network International, PBS and streaming platforms including Love Nature, Netflix and Facebook Watch. Brach will report to NHNZ Managing Director Kyle Murdoch and has a close working relationship NHNZ’s Head of Development, Sales & Marketing, Anya Durling.

“We were lucky enough to work with Liz on a range of projects while she was with Discovery and we feel that Liz along with Sarah Hume, NHNZ’s US-based Executive in Charge of Production, make the foundation of a team that can find and deliver incredible content,” says Managing Director Kyle Murdoch.

Brach has over 20 years of experience and her career is filled with highlights. She oversaw development of global series and specials including the award-winning Rise of the Warrior Apes and the multi-platform series Everest Rescue while working as Senior Director of Programming and Development for Discovery Channel International. While VP of Production and Development at Discovery US, Brach supervised the creation of Emmy-winning Cash Cab, Emmy-winning event series LIFE, Man Vs Wild, Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters, Storm Chasers and Future Weapons. While in this role, she also oversaw the development and production for three of the highest rated Shark Weeks in Discovery Channel history. Brach led the production of the creative content for Discovery's first iPad app - Ultimate Sharks - which was named iPad 'App of the Week' by Apple the week it launched. Prior to working for Discovery Channel US, Brach’s impressive list of credits included independent production and development executive work for TLC, National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery, Discovery Health, HGTV and Travel Channel.

“Having worked with NHNZ on many high-rating, award-winning programs as a network executive, I am now thrilled to be joining their team - and look forward to creating many more successful programs for our network and digital clients,” says Brach.

Photo credit: / Daniel Prudek.

NHNZ reaches significant milestone

We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary of factual filmmaking.

NHNZ has grown from humble beginnings into an international production company that creates more than 100 hours of television each year. Our productions are seen by millions of viewers in over 180 countries around the world. NHNZ has received more than 300 international awards, including the Wildscreen Panda and Emmy Awards.

“For a company to reach 40 years in business, let alone a specialist TV company, is a very special achievement. The secret to success is our people. NHNZers are passionate about telling incredible stories about the world around us. While many people have come and gone over the decades, that passion for world-class storytelling hasn’t changed in 40 years. NHNZ has a unique creative environment that has hatched an archive library business, a mobile gaming business and other start-up companies as opportunities have arisen,” says Kyle Murdoch, NHNZ’s Managing Director.

Some of NHNZ’s recent successes include award-winning Big Pacific which achieved great international ratings, produced with major stakeholders PBS, CCTV, NHK and ZDFE.
China From Above is now in its second series with China’s CICC and National Geographic Channels (NGCI). NHNZ programming featured on local screens recently with the highly successful two season-run of Our Big Blue Backyard on TVNZ.

The birthday occasion for past and present NHNZ colleagues was a celebration of the people and history of the company’s four decades in the television industry. The night was an enjoyable mix of reminiscing and excitement for future endeavours.

NHNZ also took the 40th anniversary on the road in December. In Beijing, we hosted a group of 50 Chinese industry executives from state broadcaster CCTV. The popularity of the new breed of Video On Demand platforms like Tencent (where China From Above has now reached over 250 million views) was recognised. In addition, the event was attended by John McKinnon, New Zealand’s Ambassador to Beijing, colleagues from the Embassy and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, officials from the State Council Information Office, and Media regulator, SARFT.

We celebrated 40 years of NHNZ that includes 20 years with China.