Following the success of its critically acclaimed series The Barefoot Bandits, New Zealand animation studio Mukpuddy has announced an out-of-this-world adventure awaits in its new family comedy The Adventures of Tumeke Space. The show launched on the HeiHei kids’ platform and TVNZ On Demand on Monday, Feb. 8, and was made with funding from NZ On Air / Irirangi Te Motu.
The new series follows aspiring hero Tumeke Space (voiced by Glen-Paul Waru), his trusty robot sidekick JNR-572, a.k.a. “Junior” (Josh Thomson), and reluctant ally Wahine Troubles (Kura Forrester) search for Tumeke’s long-lost koro — a legendary space hero — while battling against the Pink Menace, loyal subject of the evil Queen and her tyrannical “Moral Supremacy.”
The Adventures of Tumeke Space also features the vocal talents of award-winning comedian Urzila Carlson, Kimberley Crossman (Golden Boy), Donna Brookbanks (Funny Girls) and Alison Quigan (Shortland Street) in key guest roles. The series is created and directed by Mukpuddy founders Ryan Cooper, Alex Leighton and Tim Evans, who also serve as showrunners.
As the principals explain, Tumeke Space started life on a Post-It note stuck to Cooper’s desk, and the idea was put on the backburner in 2014 when The Barefoot Bandits was greenlit. However, Tumeke found his way into Bandits as Tane, Fridge and Riley’s favorite TV space hero. In season 2, the Bandits discovered a “lost episode” of Tumeke Space, which gave us a closer look at his intergalactic exploits. Now The Adventures of Tumeke Space is finally ready to take off on its own.
But first, the studio had to overcome their own cosmic challenge: Just when Mukpuddy finally got the chance to make Tumeke Space, New Zealand went into COVID-19 lockdown the very same week that animation was about to start. But after a frantic couple of days of setting crew up to work from home, Tumeke Space was able to start production the day after lockdown began … And, months later, completed animation during Auckland’s second COVID-19 lockdown.
“To my knowledge we’re one of the only shows, if not the only show in NZ, to actually begin production in lockdown,” Cooper remarked. “People don’t really understand just how different animation is to a live-action show… and in this instance, the differences thankfully worked in our favor.”
“We’re just so stoked with our crew,” added Leighton. “Working in isolation was a tough adjustment for everyone. The fact that we were able to keep moving forward is all thanks to them.”
Originally formed in 2002, Mukpuddy began life as three animation school graduates — Ryan Cooper, Alex Leighton and Tim Evans — hustling to make web-toons in a Pakuranga basement. Eighteen years on, Mukpuddy has cemented its position as one of New Zealand’s most successful animation studios, with a crew of 50 and several titles to their credit, including Quimbo’s Quest, Jandal Burn, The Drawing Show and Pipi Mā. This fall, the studio announced it has acquired rights to adapt Spike Milligan’s classic children’s book Badjelly the Witch.