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Sunday, 21 April 2019 02:22 am

Kia ora! Kia ora! Mahna! Mahna! – The Muppets take Wellington

Kermit and Ernie answer questions from Oscar winning songwriter Brett MacKenzie.

The Muppets may have taken Manhattan, but they’ve have wowed Wellington.

The Jim Hensen Retrospectacle is a three-week Muppet marathon of movies, workshops, and live music.

The project began 10 years ago with an email from Nic Marshall, executive director of the Square Eyes Film Foundation asking about visiting New Zealand.

Arthur Novell, Jim Hensen’s public relations man for 21 years and executive director emeritus of the Jim Hensen Legacy says earthquakes and reversal of fortunes kept it from happening until now.

“Nic managed to pull it together, and we’re delighted to be here,” he says.”

Novell’s remarks came at a press conference at Te Papa where muppets and humans fielded questions from the media.

Kermit the Frog and Ernie voiced by Matt Vogel and Peter Lenz respectively say they were loving New Zealand so far and were looking forward to finding Big Bird’s relatives.

However, Kermit was vague on the where-abouts of his pushy, porcine co-star, Miss Piggy saying he had no idea where she was.

“She’s probably shopping. She has an unlimited credit card and will come running into the show at the last moment.”

The questions took a serious turn, focusing on the enduring legacy of the Muppets and future of puppetry in film.

Craig Shemin, president of the Jim Hensen Legacy, says everyone can find a part of them to identify with the Muppet characters.

Karen Prell, the voice of Fraggle Rock’s Red, and Worm in the Labyrinth, who has worked as a computer animator, addressed the question of computer animation in film and tv.

She says it’s like different musical instruments, just another instrument added to entertainment.

“It’s a bit different with characters interacting with humans, that’s something you can’t have that energy with animation.”

As the press conference ended, Novell reminded everyone the true reason they were all here.

The legacy of Jim Hensen.

“Jim truly wanted to make the world a better place, that was his philosophy and legacy.”

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