Movings/Shakings: 17 April

Volkswagen announces a new leiter, TVNZ celebrates 25 years of Maori and Pacific programming, Boundary Road Brewery completes its global genius search, Waitemata shines on and Saatchi Sydney swallows Plankton. 

 Das Ruddenklau

Volkswagen New Zealand has announced the appropriately named Tom Ruddenklau as its new general manager. He has taken over from Dean Sheed, who will remain within the European Motor Distributor Group as Audi’s newly appointed general manager.

Ruddenklau joins Volkswagen from Hyundai Motors, where he was chief operating officer for New Zealand, bringing with him over 15 years of experience across sales, marketing and finance.

“Volkswagen is a recognised global market leader in quality and innovation and it’s a brand I have long respected,” he says. “Far from a niche European car, Volkswagen is a brand on the move with huge mainstream potential, both locally and globally. It is this opportunity for growth along with the unique car for every Kiwi offering which excited and attracted me to the business.”

Ruddenklau has just returned from Germany, where he got to see and experience the full range of new Volkswagen product and had the opportunity to fast-track his knowledge, direct from the source.

“What struck me most was the amount of amazing innovation and technology that we are fortunate enough to have available in our products here in New Zealand today,” says Ruddenklau.

Ruddenklau joins Volkswagen during a busy yet exciting time with the launch of the new Volkswagen Beetle later this year, the second season of the Small Whites sponsorship and extensive dealer and service growth across the country. The upcoming Fieldays event in June also promises to be an exciting opportunity for Volkswagen to spruik a few Amaroks and other models and the remainder of the year will see a strong push into the corporate and fleet sectors of the New Zealand market under Ruddenklau’s leadership.

Overall, he says 2012 will see the continued focus on making quality and innovative Volkswagen product accessible to Kiwis thanks to an extensive product range and an increasingly strong focus on value.

Culture club

TVNZ has announced a milestone shared by few other New Zealand programmes: the 25 year anniversary of Waka Huia and Tagata Pasifika, and the 20th anniversary of Marae Investigates.

Waka Huia was created in 1987 after the success of the Te Māori exhibition that went around the world. Originally a history programme, Waka Huia tells the stories that were not being passed on to the next generation.

The most important aspect of the programme, according to general manager of Māori & Pacific Programming Paora Maxwell, “is the valuable treasure trove of history and tribal dialects that the show has recorded for posterity”. Waka Huia continues to contribute very valuable information about Māori language and custom.

Tagata Pasifika believes the key to its success has been the ownership and loyal support of New Zealand’s Pacific community for the programme. Tagata Pasifika has seen a lot in its 25 years of transmission, including the passing of King Tupou IV and the extremely moving account of the death of Folole Muliaga, an electricity dependent woman whose power was turned off in 2007.

Producer Stephen Stehlin is proud of what the programme has achieved and optimistic about the future.

“We’ll always listen to the Pacific community and try to give them what they want,” he says.

Marae Investigates has also been a key part of the Maori stable of programmes for 20 years, but it doesn’t rest on its laurels, according to the show’s producer Raewyn Rasch.

“Marae Investigates has benefitted in the last two years from format changes and has seen its audience double which is a fantastic result for us.”

Maxwell is grateful for the support these programmes have received over the last 25 years. “TVNZ has been privileged to partner with New Zealand On Air and Te Mangai Paaho to reach the widest possible audience.”

In with the brew

Boundary Road Brewery and Barnes, Catmur & Friends scoured the globe to find the perfect candidate to travel to New Zealand and create its newest range of beers. And it’s found its “genius” in the deep south of the US.

Brian aka Spike BuckowskiBrian “Spike” Buckowski hails from Athens, Georgia, where he’s brewmaster and cofounder at the award-winning Terrapin Beer Company. He beat out 80 other beer enthusiasts who applied and will be winging his way to New Zealand next month to begin a month-long sabbbatical.

The three bespoke craft beers he comes up with will make up a new range called ‘The Resident’, and will be released for sale from July.

“Craft beer is massive in the US. We brew any style of craft beer imaginable and have more breweries than any other country in the world. Craft beer is my passion, and I’m excited to bring some American flair to the Kiwi brewing scene as well as experimenting with New Zealand hops which are world-renowned,” he says. “I’ve never travelled down under before and I hear it’s a spectacular place, so as well as trying some of the craft beer available, I’m looking forward to travelling around to check out what New Zealand has to offer.”

Ben Shaw, Boundary Road Brewery marketing manager, says Spike is a brewing genius and has both the experience and qualifications to match.

“Kiwis love good craft beer and this is reflected in the ever-increasing market here. Spike’s been tasked to provide New Zealanders with ‘The Resident’ range of brews to take the nation by storm – we can’t wait to taste what he creates.”

Waitemata Shines

Auckland-based Waitemata Films has announced a trans-Tasman partnership with Sydney-based Brilliant Films, boosting the rosters of both companies.

Waitemata, known primarily as a performance-based film company, has added five Brilliant directors to the roster, enabling it to pitch on a broader range of scripts that now include “fashion, food, beautiful models, fast cars, real people, big ideas, small ideas and maybe even that script you’re working on right now”.

These five join Waitemata’s established roster of Mike Oldershaw, Jamie Campbell, Mick Connolly and Paolo Rotondo.

“We’re excited to be able to offer these amazing directors to New Zealand agencies,” says Waitemata executive producer Johnny Blick. “Our roster is stronger than ever and our directors now cover the whole gamut of scripts out there.”

Here’s what the new guys can do:

  • Henry Mason: Henry is a talented chap. His work sweeps the spectrum from those big epic ads with lots of people banding together to small-scale real people spots with gorgeous photography and brilliant performances. Regularly shooting in urban locations, he makes the mundane magnificent.
  • Christopher Ferguson: Chris often shoots those Gen Y ads with really, really good looking people doing cool stuff to cool music in cool places like Arizona, L.A, New York and…Sydney.
  • Eden Diebel: Eden tells stories with clarity, simplicity and humour. Sometimes they’re big stories, sometimes intimate; either way the idea is paramount, the photography striking and there’s usually a touch of the unexpected.
  • Lee Rogers: Lee shoots fashion and cars (mostly). His fashion spots usually feature top international supermodels, while his car spots usually don’t. Although he’d like to shoot that script one day.
  • Brendan Young: Brendan shoots drama, drawing remarkable performances from real people (a bloody hard thing to do) and creating memorable narrative spots with a fresh visual aesthetic. Funnily enough, he also shoots lovely food.

Swimming with Saatchi 

As we wrote a few weeks back, top Kiwi creative duo Plankton (Iain Nealie and Tara McKenty of Whybin\TBWA in Auckland) have swum the ditch to become the latest in a series of new creatives to join Damon Stapleton and Michael Rebelo’s expanding Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney team.

Plankton (“we’re tiny, but our ambitions are huge”) established an international following in 2010 after they issued an ‘Initial Plankton Offer’, floating shares in their future to fund a trip to Cannes.

At Whybin\TBWA they worked on campaigns for Adidas, Absolut, Nissan, Serrato, Playstation and Visa, and travelled around the network contributing to several major global pitches.

They were recently named in Campaign’s Top 50 emerging talent portfolio.

Plankton joined the Saatchi Sydney team in late March, and according to ECD Damon Stapleton, they’re already making their mark.

“They have a complete disregard for discipline and convention. Their imagination is huge –  nothing is impossible – and they have the courage and chutzpah to pull things off with clients who want to do things differently.”  “They’re the perfect fit for our new team,” he says.

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