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Julie Christie Acquires Control of Factual Producer NHNZ

Patrick Frater
·2-min read

New Zealand-based producer and entrepreneur Dame Julie Christie has acquired majority control of international factual program production company NHNZ. It will now be rebranded as NHNZ Worldwide.

Canada’s Blue Ant Media, its most recent owner, will retain a significant minority interest and will continue to own NHNZ’s catalogue of award-winning series and documentaries. Other deal terms were not disclosed.

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Christie will become NHNZ Worldwide’s new CEO. Sam Sniderman, co-president, global content production at Blue Ant Media has joined NHNZ Worldwide’s board of directors. The company will remain headquartered in Dunedin, it was announced.

NHNZ was established in 1977 as the natural history programming unit of state-owned broadcaster TVNZ. In 1997, it was sold to Fox International Channels. In 2012, it was sold to former Fox executive David Haslingden. It was bought by Blue Ant in May 2017.

“NHNZ has achieved a great deal of success and is celebrated as one of the most respected natural history and factual production houses in the world. I’m very excited to now be a part of this company, having acquired a majority stake in NHNZ Worldwide,” said Christie in a statement. “I love the documentary and natural history genres, and while they will continue to be the backbone of our production business, I am excited to build a slate of projects in other categories, as we expand into other production hubs around the world.”

Christie was the founder and creative force behind New Zealand’s Touchdown Productions, an international TV production company that sold unscripted formats to 30 countries. These included “The Chair,” “Miss Popularity” and “Treasure Island.” The company was sold to Eyeworks in 2006 after which she became CEO of Eyeworks New Zealand & Australia. Christie has also executive-produced three feature films: “The Tattooist,” “LoveBirds” and “Mr. Pip.”

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