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Pioneer House – A Living Experiment

For those wanting a first-hand feel for life in early 20th Century New Zealand, Pioneer House will be compulsory primetime viewing.

NZ On Air has announced funding for an historical documentary series featuring a vivid portrayal of colonial New Zealand in the form of a ‘living experiment’.

“New Zealand television audiences love programmes about our history. This programme will be revealing and entertaining as well as a valuable history lesson,“ said Jo Tyndall, Chief Executive of NZ On Air.

“A Kiwi family will be transported back in time to spend three months living as ‘pioneers’ in a house restored to the exact specifications of the turn of the century.”

Inspired by the highly successful British programme,1900 House, the New Zealand version will be a longer series with greater focus on historical information and customs of the time.

A team of expert consultants will help place and prepare the family in an authentic environment and, after that, the family will be thrown in the deep end.

“Imagine life with no central heating, refrigeration, cars, electricity, aspirin, shampoo, toilet paper, television or convenience food. There will however, be new pleasures for the family, in communicating, working together on chores and getting around in a horse and cart,” said Producer, Cheryl Farthing, of Touchdown Productions.

“The series will trace the family’s reaction to their newfound lifestyle,” she said.

The only equipment in the house from the 21st Century will be video cameras installed in each bedroom enabling each family member to keep a video diary of their feelings and experiences.

NZ On Air has contributed $454,174 to Touchdown Productions to produce the one-hour pilot and seven half hour episodes.

Production of Pioneer House is expected to be completed by February 2001 with screening later in the year on TV One.

Any families interested in participating should contact Touchdown Productions’ website or telephone (09) 379 7867.


For further information:
Jo Tyndall
Chief Executive
NZ On Air
Tel: (04) 382 9524

This media release is available on the Internet, at

Pioneer House $454,174
1 x 1 hour, 7 x ½ hour docu/drama series
Broadcaster : TV One
Producer: Cheryl Farthing, Touchdown Productions

© Scoop Media

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