Part of the NHNZ family . . . New owner of NHNZ, Australian
businessman David Haslingden (right), is welcomed to the
NHNZ team by (from left) NHNZ publicist Rebecca Wilson,
executive producer Judith Curran and general manager John
Crawford. Photo by Brenda Harwood
Dunedin-based NHNZ, one of New Zealand's seminal film and
documentary makers, has been sold by its multi-national owner
to a leading Australian television executive.
Fox Television Studios has sold NHNZ to former Fox Networks
Group executive David Haslingden in a move that could mean
New Zealanders see more of the Dunedin company's work on
Just what he paid remained confidential yesterday but, in an
exclusive interview with The Star, there was every indication
he saw a strong future for his new acquisition.
Mr Haslingden said he was keen for NHNZ to do ''more of
everything'' - including producing more shows for the
domestic market and more work on what is broadly called
''I would love to see us expanding into historical dramas and
even scripted dramas - it would be great for the hit show in
New Zealand to be an NHNZ show,'' he said during the
interview in Dunedin yesterday.
Mr Haslingden would also like to bring more young people into
NHNZ, enhancing its status as a vibrant and exciting place to
Asked if NHNZ could act as a hub for film and television
creation in the region, Mr Haslingden said such a thing would
be ''a terrific goal'' for the company.
Mr Haslingden left his role as president and chief operating
officer of California-based Fox Networks Group late last
year. He bought NHNZ in October.
NHNZ was previously owned by Fox Television Studios, under
the umbrella of News Corp, Mr Haslingden's former employer.
Since stepping down and moving back to Australia to be closer
to family, Mr Haslingden has become chairman of Australian
television network Nine Entertainment, and is also chairman
of wildlife charity Wild Aid.
Through his role at Fox and as former chief executive of
National Geographic Channels International, Mr Haslingden has
had a 10-year association with NHNZ.
''As I started my television career with National Geographic,
I have always had an affection for the natural history work
that NHNZ has been famous for,'' he said.
''One of the things that interested me about the company is
the fact that it is very versatile, making and exporting
shows around the world.''
Describing NHNZ as his major asset, Mr Haslingden said the
strength of the company and the quality of its programmes had
inspired him to ''make a big personal bet'' on its future.
However, apart from providing strategic advice, he does not
plan to take on a direct executive role.
''Really, the change of ownership shouldn't make any
difference - this is a great bunch of people,'' he said.
''I hope I will be able to make a contribution and provide
''My main message to everyone at NHNZ is 'go for it','' he