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Art Travels

Following on closely from its May symposium to identify and define the future of locally made television documentaries, NZ On Air has just announced three new documentary projects that have been allocated funding totalling almost $1.2 million. Intrepid Journeys and The Explorers will take viewers on trips around New Zealand and the world, and Colin McCahon – A Question of Faith will explore the work and the life of one of New Zealand's most significant artists.

"Intrepid Journeys puts well-known New Zealanders through their paces in 'adventure' destinations, and The Explorers follows some of the best known journeys of early European explorers of New Zealand," said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jo Tyndall. "You could say Intrepid Journeys takes us off the beaten track, and The Explorers puts us back on it.

"New Zealanders love to travel, and they loved the first series of Intrepid Journeys. We expect this series to be just as popular," she said. "It's a series full of colour, showing us some out-of-the-way places through the eyes of a Kiwi traveller. Because of the locations and the very much less than deluxe accommodations, the presenters also go on something of a personal journey of discovery. And this time round we get a behind the scenes look at how the programme comes together with one episode devoted to the making of the series.

"The Explorers, on the other hand, traces the journeys of four early British adventurers – Charles Heaphy, William Colenso, A.J. 'George' Barrington, and Thomas Brunner, " said Ms Tyndall. "In this series, Peter Elliott – who presented the popular Captain's Log series – will retrace the steps of these explorers, recreating three rugged South Island treks, and one in the North Island.

"The Explorers will contrast the way those landscapes greet today's traveller, with the historic perspective provided by early diary entries that help to demonstrate how much attitudes have changed from the 'clash of cultures' of the time. It will give the perspective of the people who live there now, and those who lived there then, who had trodden the paths in advance of the European settlers."

NZ On Air has also allocated funding to a one-hour documentary about the life and work of Colin McCahon, undoubtedly New Zealand's best known artist internationally.

”This documentary uses the current Colin McCahon exhibition, A Question of Faith, as a base to follow the artist's physical and spiritual journeys through New Zealand, Australia and the United States, to try to understand what he was attempting to achieve and convey with his work," said Jo Tyndall. "It draws heavily on discussion with friends and colleagues, and visits to old haunts to find the inspiration for his work. It promises a unique insight into the man and his art."

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