Behind the scenes of the Save Kiwi Month video

Department of Conservation —  16/10/2014
Kids being filmed for the Save Kiwi Month video. Photo: Cristian Rodriguez.

On location

By Paul O’Shea from Kiwis for kiwi

George Burns once said “you should never work with children or animals”. Well, for this year’s Save Kiwi Month, Kiwis for kiwi decided to disregard that old piece of Hollywood advice, and our results couldn’t have been better.

Our day begun on a Saturday morning in early September, at Augusto, on Wellesley Street in Auckland City, where we would be filming for the day.

When I arrived the set was a hive of activity with people putting together the backdrop, prepping camera gear and organising the sound equipment.

Boy being filmed for Save Kiwi Month video. Photo: Cristian Rodriguez.

Getting ready to film

I arrived with some of the stars of the day’s shoot: a pair of rats borrowed from a friend, a male and female weta, and three giant stick insects kindly lent to us by Brian Lawton of Creatures Unlimited.

Once I had the rats set up in their cage for the day—with food, water, and enrichment—and the insects put away in a quiet dark place away from all the action, I went to pick up one of our very special cameos for the video—a tuatara. Auckland Zoo had very kindly lent us a tuatara for a couple of hours for the filming.

Children looking at a tuatara. Photo: Cristian Rodriguez.

Tuatara from Auckland Zoo

Once I arrived back to our location everything was in place and we were ready to go. Now it was time for lights, camera, action!

Now, whenever you are filming there are a range of important people such as the director and the camera person. But on our film set we had three very important people, they had volunteered to help keep the 34 children we had organised to be part of the shoot entertained and occupied while they waited for their moment in front of the camera.

Volunteers entertain the children during the film shoot.

Keeping the kids entertained

Over the course of the day each child was asked a range of questions about what it means to be called a Kiwi, what is special about kiwi and how they would feel if we no longer had kiwi.

We showed them other alternate national icons as well as some examples of the pest species that are having such a huge impact on our indigenous wildlife.

A pet rat in a cage. Photo: Cristian Rodriguez.


As you can see from the video the results were just the right mix of poignant and humorous.

It was a fantastic day and we take our hats off to our creative geniuses Shara Benitez, Hustle & Bustle and Augusto who gave up their Saturday and pulled in favours to get this video made.

The visuals that came out of the day were then fed through our digital and online channels by Big Fish Creative

Young girl and boy being filmed for the Save Kiwi Month video. Photo: Cristian Rodriguez.

Making movie stars

We have had over 3,300 views of the video in the first 13 days of it being live and elicited some really positive feedback for both the entertainment and educational value of the video.

We want people to know the threats that kiwi currently face, and how their donation will support the work that is being done around the country to protect them and, of course, that they don’t eat butterflies but they do eat spiders!

You can make an online donation at Kiwis for kiwi or in any BNZ store.

Every $100 raised helps to keep another kiwi safe from pests and predators for an entire year.

Learn more

– Kiwi

– DOC’s partnership with Kiwi for Kiwis

One response to Behind the scenes of the Save Kiwi Month video


    Seen this on TV. Love it.