03 Apr 2019

Essential Media announces NZ office with travel documentary series starring Griff Rhys Jones

Leading content production company Essential Media Group (EMG) today announces the opening of a production base in New Zealand, alongside the commission of a second factual entertainment TV series starring British comedian and travel enthusiast Griff Rhys Jones.

Following hot on the heels of the recently announced 6 x 1 hr series Griff Off the Rails: Down Underin which Griff explores the Australian continent through its iconic railways - a second, four-part series called Griff’s Kiwi Adventures has been commissioned by Prime in New Zealand and will be produced by Essential Media Group NZ, a new Wellington-based joint venture with Libertine Pictures. International sales of both titles are being handled by Kew Media Distribution.

In Griff’s Kiwi Adventures (4 x 1hrs), Griff explores modern day New Zealand: discovering what it means to be a New Zealander today, by meeting the locals, experiencing the epic landscapes and witnessing first-hand the impact and relevance of traditional Maori heritage.  The journey starts in the Bay of Islands at the top of the North Island and travels all the way to Fiordland at the base of the South Island. 

Griff Rhys Jones, who also writes a travel column for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, is known for his love of trains, rivers and waterways through programs such as Slow Train Through Africa and Three Men in a Boat.

Essential Media recently co-produced the six-part history series The Pacific in the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill (aka Uncharted with Sam Neill) for Foxtel and Prime and feature documentary Why Anzac with Sam Neill (aka Tides of Blood) for ABC and Maori Television.

Essential Media’s General Manager for ANZ, Brendan Dahill said: “Essential Media has enjoyed a long and successful track record of producing top quality shows for the New Zealand market – and this has provided us with a platform to formalise our commitment to production in New Zealand.”  He added: “We are thrilled to be building on our relationship with Griff Rhys Jones to create two very distinctive series that will offer viewers around the world an entertaining outsider’s perspective on life Down Under.”

On the opening of Essential Media Group NZ, Libertine Picture’s Managing Director, Richard Fletcher said: “Libertine Pictures is delighted to be joining forces with Essential Media to share expertise and build a new and exciting New Zealand production company.  It is fitting to kick off the new venture with such an entertaining and distinctive take on New Zealand. We are looking forward to working with a partner with the depth of experience of Essential Media and such a recognised talent as Griff Rhys Jones.”

For Media Enquiries contact: Denise Anderson | M: +61 (0)4 22 611 630


About Essential Media Group

Essential Media Group is one of Australia’s leading producers of high-quality screen content for both local and international audiences. 

An award-winning multi-genre company, Essential Media produces documentaries, TV drama, features films, factual series and lifestyle programming out of its Sydney head office and its North American offices in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth. Platform partners outside Australia include BBC, UKTV, National Geographic, PBS, Discovery Networks, Sundance, History Channel, Arte, CuriosityStream, Netflix and Fox Network.

Essential Media’s recent successes include the six part history series The Pacific with Sam Neill (Foxtel, Prime NZ, Ovation)science adventure series Body Hack (Network Ten and Discovery), 4K TV series and feature film Living Universe (ABC, Arte France, Curiosity Stream & UKTV) feature documentary The Go-Betweens: Right Here (Winner Best Feature documentary at 2017 SPA awards), the documentary series Afghanistan: Inside Australia's War, (winner of the 2016 NSW Premier's History Award Media Prize) and My Brother, The Serial Killer (Investigation Discovery). The company has been behind internationally acclaimed drama series such as Rake, Jack Irish, Doctor Doctor, The Principal and the Disney movie Saving Mr Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

About Libertine Pictures

Libertine Pictures is an independent film and television production company founded in 2013, based in New Zealand and led by accomplished producer Richard Fletcher and internationally-acclaimed writer Neil Cross. Libertine produces bold and compelling feature films, documentaries and television drama. It works with established storytellers and filmmakers and nurtures emerging talent. Libertine’s aim is to inspire, challenge and innovate. It is passionate about bringing powerful and distinctive stories to the screen.

About Kew Media Distribution

Kew Media Distribution, part of Kew Media Group, distributes a diverse catalogue of film, television and digital assets to broadcasters and viewing platforms across the world. Kew Media Distribution manages international rights to a library of over 11,000 hours of TV and digital content, including major drama series, non-fiction entertainment, special event programming, kids’ series, TV movies and mini-series.